Premier League • England

Wolves wrestle with Celtic for sub-£1m signing of European keeper after three missed opportunities

Nikita Haikin during a Bodo/Glimt match

Wolves are battling with Celtic for the signature of Bodo/Glimt goalkeeper Nikita Haikin, who could be available for half a million pounds, according to a report.

Haikin was a regular starter for Bodo/Glimt during their journey to the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League this year. He featured in the first leg of their knockout play-off win over Celtic, who have now become admirers.

But the 26-year-old could end up in the Premier League instead. He is also attracting Wolves, despite their addition of a new number one in the shape of Jose Sa last summer.

This is all according to Football Insider, who believe the asking price for Haikin in the summer will be in the region of £500,000. That would put some money in Bodo/Glimt’s pockets six months ahead of the end of his contract in December.

If Wolves are to win the race, it would represent a long-awaited opportunity in the Premier League for the Israel-born shot-stopper. Haikin was previously in the academies of Chelsea, Portsmouth and Reading.

He never featured at senior level and has since built up his professional career elsewhere. Current employers Bodo/Glimt are the club he has represented most, with 81 appearances in all competitions.

Amassing European experience within that spell, Haikin could now be ready to prove himself on British shores. It remains to be seen whether he would end up north or south of the border.

With Celtic, he would be joining a club hoping to have become Scottish champions again. Wolves, meanwhile, are still in with a shout of qualifying for Europe via the English Premier League.

Haikin to become backup keeper at either club?

At either club, though, Haikin would probably have to settle for a backup role. Sa has done well since his summer move to Molineux, while Joe Hart has also got his career back on track since becoming Celtic number one in 2021.

Both clubs could move on their second-choice shot-stoppers, though. John Ruddy will be out of contract with Wolves, while Celtic could sell Vasilis Barkas.

And at an affordable price of just six figures, Haikin could be worth investing in as he approaches his prime years.

He has conceded 81 goals from the same number of games for Bodo/Glimt, keeping 28 clean sheets. For comparison, Sa has 11 clean sheets from 33 Wolves games so far; Hart has 25 from 50 for Celtic.

Haikin was linked with Watford and Norwich late last year, but is rising in prominence and could now aim higher than the relegation-threatened pair of Premier League clubs.

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