A shrewd move? Why Swedish stopper Tim Rönning could answer Celtic goalkeeper quandary

By Euan Davidson

March 13, 2021

The Celtic goalkeeper situation is, as we know, a bizarre one.

You’d have thought that when Celtic signed a Greek international for £4.5m, it’d do the trick [BBC]. Vasilis Barkas came with an excellent reputation from AEK Athens. At 26, there was the hope that he could secure the number 1 jersey for years to come.

If you follow Celtic, which obviously, you do, then you’ll know it’s not worked so far. Youngster Conor Hazard has just signed a new deal after featuring multiple times this season. Scott Bain is the current incumbent, but there’s no guarantee he’ll start next week’s Glasgow Derby. That’s if it even takes place.

Behind a Swiss cheese of a Celtic defence this season, there have been fewer less attractive jobs in Europe over 20-21. Perhaps being a Civil Servant during Brexit, or a vaccine tester.

So, it makes sense that the Bhoys have been linked to a number of goalkeeping options. Domestically, Benjamin Siegrist and Ofir Marciano have stood out. David Marshall may make a return to the club; a romantic, sentimental return for a Scotland hero.

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All three of those options are objectively decent. However, there’s a Scandinavian option who – with the right coaching – could represent an absolute bargain for the Bhoys. Tim Rönning, at just 22, has been impressing in his native Sweden, for top-tier outfit Elfsborg.

 

Tim Rönning in action for Elfsborg / (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

Who is Tim Rönning, and what could he bring to Celtic?

Rönning, standing at roughly 6’6″, established himself as Elfsborg’s number 1 in the 2020 edition of the Allsvenskan [Transfermarkt]. Playing alongside some fantastic names in Per Frick and Jack Cooper Love, the young goalkeeper featured in last year’s 2nd place outfit [Svensk Fotbal].

Over the season, he boasted an impressive save percentage of 74.4% [FBRef], keeping 9 clean sheets in 30 outings, with 32 conceded.

A Swedish youth international, Rönning has made 10 appearances across 4 youth sides. He hasn’t made his U-21 bow as of yet, and he faces competition further ahead from Robin Olsen and Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

Still, Scandinavia is a fantastic market for players. In the past, Celtic have explored the leagues of Norway, Sweden and Denmark with a measure of success. Obvious examples like Mikael Lustig and Kristoffer Ajer spring to mind.

Yes, he’s a raw talent, but with a full campaign under his belt and excellent shot-stopping instincts, Rönning is a potentially exciting option. Valued at just under £1m by Transfermarkt, Elfsborg would surely want 7 figures for their number 1. Still, at his current trajectory, he’ll be a target across Europe.

Celtic could make a masterstroke by getting to Rönning first.

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