Why Carl Starfelt looks like an absolute bargain for Celtic

By Euan Davidson

July 21, 2021

Celtic have paid a reported £4m on Rubin Kazan defender Carl Starfelt, according to the BBC.

Starfelt comes into replace the outgoing Kristoffer Ajer, who looks to have netted a healthy sum for the Bhoys. Considering Starfelt’s age, international pedigree and league experience, it seems a bit of a steal where Celtic are concerned.

The Swede played 2592 minutes in 20-21 [WhoScored?]. That’s not quite Celtic’s Iron Man standards, but it’s impressive enough. It ranks him as Kazan’s most used player from last season.

Dubbed an “interesting player” and good tackler who’s confident in the air by Swedish football expert Anel Advić, Starfelt comes highly rated. There was confusion as to why he wasn’t listed in the Swedish squad for Euro 2020 [67 Hail Hail], with former Celt Mikael Lustig featuring as Sweden got to the round of 16.

So, the pedigree’s there, we know that. But at £4m, it’s a snip for such a productive player. Consider this: when Christopher Jullien was at Toulouse, Celtic prised him for “around £7m” [BBC].

Celtic take some positive first steps under Ange Postecoglou

Elsewhere, players of similar standing have joined Celtic for more. Switzerland international Albian Ajeti cost £4.5m [BBC], while Barkas also cost more than the incoming defender.

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Far from being fleeced for players, Celtic are buying in quality at a competitive price. With more players needed across the park, it bodes well for the rest of the window.

Celtic manage to steal Carl Starfelt for reported £4m, despite mitigating factor

It’s also well worth noting that Carl Starfelt extended his contract at Rubin Kazan in February of this year.

In hindsight, that was a move to ensure a decent price for the Swedish defender. But surely Rubin Kazan could’ve held out for more? Not that we’re complaining, of course.

Photo by Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images

Anel Advić summed up the situation for us two weeks ago. He said:

“He’s a key player there, and they extended his contract this February. He got quite a good deal. From what I heard, the plan has always been that if you extend, then maybe in the summer… [the club] can solve something and sell to a bigger league, a bigger club.”

Again, we’re not complaining. However, Rubin Kazan are a big club, who have made big sales. Starfelt, one of their key contributors for two seasons, don’t even crack into their top 10 most lucrative departures, per Transfermarkt.

Interestingly, former Celtic loanee Moritz Bauer was sold for more, when he joined Stoke in 2018 [TalkSport]. He only made 41 appearances in two seasons with Rubin Kazan, Starfelt made one more.

So, it’s strange that a player of that calibre has become available to Celtic for such a minimal fee, in today’s market. But if he does the business for the Bhoys, along with multi-million signings Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi, then it’s a job well done for Dom McKay and the Celtic board.

In other news: when is this new Celtic man going to make his debut?