Bodo/Glimt replace star striker Erik Botheim with Norwegian talent; confirm he'll be ready for Celtic
Bodo/Glimt have found their replacement for Erik Botheim after they confirmed the signing of Norwegian striker Runar Espejord.
Celtic’s Europa Conference League rivals have bene rocked this summer with a number of big-name departures. One of them being star-striker Botheim, who made the move to Russian side Krasnodar at the end of last year.
Now, it’s about rebuilding for manager Kjetil Knutsen. And as Botheim’s replacement, he’s managed to bring in former Herenveen talisman Espejord.
Stating on their website, Bodo/Glimt have said that their new signing will be available and ready to face Celtic next month. The game being the Norwegian champions’ next competitive clash.
Espejord arrives after spending last-term on loan with Tromso, the same place he started his career. Espejord racked up 30 goals in 130 games for the Norwegian side over the course of both of his spells there. He failed to net in 8 appearances with Herenveen however.
So it’s an interesting signing heading into the game against Celtic. He certainly doesn’t have the firepower in terms of numbers to look like a decent enough replacement for Botheim. But Knutsen has made his name off of rebuilding squads in his image and getting the best out of his players.
Bodo/Glimt continue major makeover as Celtic watch on
So the rebuild continues in Norway as they attempt to gear up for the Celtic clash and continue to capture the imagination of the continent.
However, the reality is that this isn’t the Bodo/Glimt side that mauled Roma anymore. Their attacking threats from the group stages have all but departed, with new players now being asked to step up to the task.
Celtic of course cannot underestimate the signing of Espejord. Going on his goal return alone would be naive. He’s still a physical presence that will look to unnerve the Celtic backline, particularly in Norway in front of what could be a hostile atmosphere.
But it can’t be denied that Bodo/Glimt are already looking much weaker than they did as recently as a month ago. Such is the nature of the overhaul they’re undergoing this winter, it’s unlikely they’ll all be up to speed by next month.
UEFA will only allow clubs to register 3 new players for the next phase of the Europa Conference League too. That means not everyone they bring in this winter will be able to feature against the Hoops. An interesting decision for Knutsen to make.
Regardless, Celtic don’t have the luxury of taking anyone lightly. And come the game next month, we can expect a dogged fight from our Norwegian foes.