Who is Viljami Sinisalo? What you need to know about latest Celtic target

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers’ first port of call this summer will be to install a new number-one goalkeeper at Parkhead.

Former England international Joe Hart has announced that he will retire from football at the end of the campaign, and the 37-year-old could bow out a double-winner depending on the outcome of our next five fixtures.

 

At the time of writing, the veteran stopper has racked up 148 appearances for Celtic across all competitions, keeping 61 clean sheets in the process [Transfermarkt].

Nevertheless, the hunt for his successor is well underway in Glasgow’s east end, with several mooted targets already circulating in media circles.

On the ambitious side, Caoimhin Kelleher and Ugurcan Cakir represent two compelling options for Celtic; meanwhile, Asmir BegovicMichael Zetterer, and Anthony Patterson have also entered the mix.

One thing is for certain: Hart’s leadership qualities and winning mentality are set to be sorely missed by the reigning Scottish Premiership champions, signifying the importance of acquiring an effective alternative.

Celtic interested in Aston Villa goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo

According to The Sun, Celtic are keen to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo. Sinisalo spent the 2023/24 campaign on loan at Exeter City from his parent club.

Rival suitors from the Sky Bet Championship have emerged to try and secure the Finland international’s services; however, the outlet state Hoops boss Rodgers has been ‘impressed’ by the £3 million-rated stopper’s exploits in England’s third tier.

 

Celtic's Northern Ireland coach Brendan Rodgers attends a team training session at the Celtic Training Centre in Lennoxtown, north of Glasgow on Oc...

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Per FBRef, the 22-year-old has recorded an impressive save percentage rate of 70.3% from 182 shots on target faced across 45 appearances in Sky Bet League One, obtaining 13 clean sheets.

Furthermore, during his time at St James’ Park, Sinisalo made 138 stops and 32 high claims, kept out three penalties, and recorded a 60.3% pass accuracy rate [Fotmob].

Back in 2021, Celtic were reportedly in a tussle with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig to sign the Espoo-born man, though nothing came to fruition at that point.

 

His manager at Exeter, former Hoops defender Gary Caldwell, has tipped the youngster to have an ‘incredible career’ based on his displays for the Grecians. [BBC Sport].

If claims from south of the border are to be believed, he could now be well in the frame for an unexpected move to Parkhead this summer to replace Hart.

 

 

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