Celtic could plunder Jose Mourinho's new side for #1

By Euan Davidson

May 12, 2021

The likelihood is that Celtic will be in the market for a new goalkeeper, and they might just be ringing up Jose Mourinho.

The ‘Special One’ was tentatively discussed as a candidate to replace Neil Lennon. It was pie in the sky stuff, and the Bhoys dressing room probably dodged a bullet there. At Roma, however, he can rebuild his reputation as a winner. The underwhelming capital city side have needed a ruthless streak. Under Mourinho, they get that quality in spades.

However, that’s not what’s relevant to Celtic. What is relevant is their Swedish international goalkeeper, Robin Olsen. Second choice to Jordan Pickford on loan at Everton, Il Romanista are suggesting that Olsen could be available for anywhere between £4.3m and £5.2m.

All the talk is about Carlo Ancelotti picking up the 42-cap goalie permanently for that price. However, can a player of Olsen’s esteem really be happy as a second-choice? Or could Celtic find a reliable, European-quality goalkeeper for less than we paid for Vasilis Barkas?

You might remember Olsen, as a Celtic supporter specifically. European nuisances Malmö, Olsen’s hometown team, and FC Copenhagen, are the goalkeeper’s alma maters. Before joining Roma, Olsen was the definition of sturdy: in 100 Copenhagen outings, he conceded just 82 goals, with 45 clean sheets [Transfermarkt].

And, of course; Celtic have already bid for the guy.

Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen / (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Celtic need a goalkeeper, and Jose Mourinho might have the answer

While doing any kind of business with a Jose Mourinho side might still feel unpalatable to many supporters, Olsen is a quality keeper.

Celtic have tried to negotiate a deal involving Roma paying half of Olsen’s wages. Fairly obviously, they didn’t accept that, but whether that’s permanently burnt a bridge in any negotiation is another question. With I Giallorossi looking to offload the Swedish ‘keeper, it’s surely about the right bid, as opposed to the right club.

Now, there may be a layer of trepidation here. The last time we signed a Swedish international goalkeeper, it didn’t quite work out. Magnus Hedman looked for all the word like he’d be our number 1 for years, but it just didn’t happen at Celtic Park.

Olsen is a very different keeper, though. His reflexes are excellent, especially from close range, which has been an issue for Bain and Barkas. Whether it’s confidence or something else, too many cheap goals have been conceded by the Bhoys this season. The Swedish keeper’s distribution isn’t necessarily the greatest, connecting with 65% of his passes [WhoScored?], but that could as easily be a function of system as much as it is of ability.

At the very least, Olsen’s travails in Scandinavia and for Sweden scream “reliability”. He can do far better than being a back-up for the Toffees.

If Celtic have sense, they’ll be back in with a better bid this summer.

In other news, a club icon faces his last outing at Paradise.