Celtic transfer latest: Erik Sviatchenko eyed up for dramatic return

Ahead of what looks like a major revamp of Celtic's first-team squad, a familiar face has been linked with a dramatic return to the club. 

What's the latest Celtic transfer news? 

According to The Scottish Sun, new manager Ange Postecoglou is keeping tabs on former Parkhead star Erik Sviatchenko as he plots a massive summer overhaul. 

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The Danish defender left the club in January 2018 on an initial loan deal before joining FC Midtjylland on a permanent basis that summer, though has impressed back in his homeland. 

Indeed, there is said to be interest from Premier League clubs, although Celtic are understood to be keen on bringing him back to Glasgow too. 

How many games did Sviatchenko play for Celtic? 

Moving to Celtic in January 2016, the 29-year-old defender played 63 times for the Hoops, though did not feature after the 21st of May 2017 as a result of a knee injury. 

During the unbeaten season of 2016-17 under the management of Brendan Rodgers, Sviatchenko made 28 league starts. 

Do Celtic need to sign a new defender? 

Given Kristoffer Ajer has been strongly linked with a move away from Parkhead this summer, it would seem wise to strengthen in that particular area. 

Across 38 league games, they conceded 29 times, more than double the amount Rangers allowed through their goal and their highest since the 2015/16 campaign

Could Sviatchenko really be the right fit? 

The Athletic have previously suggested there is a feeling behind the scenes that the club's standards have slipped since Rodgers joined Leicester City in 2019. 

With that in mind, looking to bring a man who formed a huge part of their success back might be a good idea. After all, Rodgers spoke of how much Sviatchenko put into self-improvement during thei time together. 

“He’s a boy that I’ve got huge admiration for,” he said (via The Scotsman). 

“After every game he studies his own game and cuts his own parts – edits his own individual clips – and then comes to us. We then sit and look together. That’s learning."

Clearly, solely basing any return on that would be unwise but it's not as if the defender hasn't impressed elsewhere. According to FBREF data, he averaged 1.83 interceptions per game during the 2020/21 season, as well as 0.68 successful tackles while WhoScored note he won 3.2 aerial duels per game in five Champions League outings. 

At Celtic, those averages (out of players who played more than 10 games) would see him rank second, eighth and sixth respectively. 

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What has Sviatchenko said about Celtic? 

Speaking to the BBC in March, Sviatchenko revealed he hoped John Kennedy would have been given the managerial job on a full-time basis and spoke of his admiration for the coach. 

"I hope John Kennedy gets his chance," he said.

"We had a really close relationship. He was always there to ask how you were feeling but also on the football side of it, always trying to improve you.

"He was also the one who came to me and said, 'Erik, we need someone to wear the captain's armband' as Scott Brown was injured. He said to me, 'I think you can do this for us,' and I captained the team once, which I'm proud of.

"He has so much experience from the coaching side, even though he hasn't been the main man, but he knows so much about football also on the mental side of it - being there, trying it with his own body to play at the highest level and with the club as well. I only have good, positive things to say about him."

Read More - Summer transfer window: When does it open and who will move this summer?