January Celtic target Rekeem Harper signs for League One side Ipswich Town

By Euan Davidson

June 26, 2021

Long-term Celtic target Rekeem Harper has signed for League One side Ipswich Town from West Bromwich Albion.

The Tractor Boys confirmed the signing on their website yesterday. Harper, who spent the back half of last season on loan with Birmingham City, had been tracked by former Celtic boss Neil Lennon. In fact, Lennon himself had been to watch his matches [Record]. He was also linked with a loan move to the Bhoys in the 2020 winter Transfer Window [Sun].

Birmingham City fans were hopeful of landing Harper on a permanent deal, following his loan move [Birmingham Mail]. Instead, he’s joined Paul Cook’s Ipswich Town on a three year deal, for an undisclosed fee [ITFC]. Still only 21, there were high hopes for Harper when he broke into West Brom’s first-team at 17. However, the Baggies have permanently cut him loose, with his development clearly disappointing WBA’s coaches.

Harper made 18 Championship appearances with Birmingham City in 20-21 [Transfermarkt]. Prior to that, he’d only played 31 minutes of Premier League football with the Baggies, at which point he was linked once again with a move to Celtic.

Harper told Ipswich Town’s website [ITFC]:

“I’m absolutely delighted to be here.

“I feel like it’s a perfect opportunity for me to come and settle in an environment and help a team that shares the same goal as me – getting to the top.

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“This move shows my motivation and I can’t wait to get started with the group.”

Celtic haven’t really missed out here, despite long-term interest in Harper

Admittedly, Harper could be a huge success at Ipswich Town. It’s perhaps a tier below where he ought to be playing, going by his abilities and Championship performances. Certainly, it’s an interesting move to have made.

Rekeem Harper had been linked with Celtic before / (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Celtic, for their part, haven’t seemingly been interested in the midfielder for quite a while. Attentions turned to Liam Shaw of Sheffield Wednesday, who is a rawer but potentially more exciting prospect. Despite having representatives of the club follow his matches two years ago, Harper has never really kicked on in a significant way.

This move suits him, though. Sometimes you need a step back to launch forwards. If he’s able to establish himself as a starter and build on his experience in East Anglia, he could end up being the player many thought he’d be, albeit a few years later than expected.

So, it’s not a blow for Celtic, but it is one to keep an eye on in 21-22.

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