Three alternatives to Livaković that Celtic could turn to

Since his arrival in Glasgow two summers ago, Joe Hart has been a stalwart in goals for Celtic, keeping 46 clean sheets in 104 appearances.  However, at the age of 36 and with one year remaining on his contract, is now the time for Celtic to look to the future and bring in a keeper capable of challenging Hart and eventually succeeding the Englishman as Celtic’s number one?

Eyebrows were raised when Joe Hart was unveiled as a Celtic player back in August 2021.  Capped 75 times by England, Hart had made just 13 appearances over the previous two seasons with Burnley and Tottenham, none of which came on League duty.

Add to that the verbal mauling dished out by then Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo, and Joe Hart rocked up at Celtic as a player who was past his best and seemingly at rock bottom.  As it transpired, all Hart needed was a manager who had trust in him and a positive environment to play his football.

With neither Vasilis Barkas nor Scott Bain up to the task of taking on the responsibility of being Celtic’s number one, Hart brought with him a level of experience and self-assuredness that had been sorely missed between the sticks.

Along with an ability to keep the ball out of the need, Hart’s leadership ability helped endear him to the Celtic support from the beginning; and also helped forge the solid defensive partnership with Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt that became the foundation on which Celtic’s domestic dominance over the past two seasons was built.

However, as last season wound down, errors began to creep into Hart’s game.  Soft goals were lost at Ibrox and at home against St. Mirren and Motherwell leading to doubts surfacing over Hart’s long-term viability as number one.

Going into the summer transfer window with a healthy transfer budget, now boosted further by the sale of Jota, there has been lots of speculation linking Celtic with a move for a new keeper. Croatian international Dominik Livaković had been heavily linked to the club before agreeing to join Turkish Super Liga side Fenerbahçe.  If reports are accurate, Celtic even went so far as to bid €8 million for the Dinamo Zagreb man; a record-breaking fee for a goalkeeper.

With Celtic apparently in the market for a new keeper, I’ve done some data scouting on goalkeepers across Europe to identify three potential alternatives to Livaković that Celtic could turn their attention to.

In doing so, I’ve set a few parameters to work within; the player’s market value (from can be no more than €5 million, allowing Celtic to flex their financial muscle to bring in a high-quality keeper but staying within our current buying range; the player must realistically fit within our wage structure – so no David De Gea, even though the Spanish stopper is available on a free; the player must have outperformed Joe Hart in at least one key goalkeeping metric last season, with my preference being prevented goals.

Matevž Vidovšek

Age: 23
Club: NK Olimpija Ljubljana
International: Slovenia, 1 cap
Market Value: €2 million (source:

Standing at 199cm and weighing 90kg, Vidovšek is a physically imposing goalkeeper who commands his area well.  He is an excellent shot-stopper as indicated by a save rate of 83.93%, a league-leading stat for prevented goals (0.431 goals per 90 minutes) and clean sheets (18) over the past season.

His high pass accuracy over short and long distances should lend him well to Rodgers’ mixed passing approach, as should his willingness to initiate attacks from the back with his ability to distribute the ball wide and switch play effectively.

Vidovšek is a first-team-ready goalkeeper, however, with the added benefit of a year working alongside Joe Hart before taking on the gloves full time, he could integrate and develop into an even better player.  One that could fit the buy low(ish) and sell high model.

Everton, Udinese, and now Dinamo Zagreb have all been credited with an interest in Vidovšek.  If Celtic were to be added to his list of potential suitors, then they may have to act fast to bring him in.

Nikola Čavlina

Age: 21
Club: NK Lokomotiva Zagreb
International: Croatia U21, 1 cap
Market Value: €2 million (source:

Dominik Livaković is not the only talented goalkeeper playing in Croatian football as 21-year-old Nikola Čavlina proves.  Čavlina is considered to be the most promising young goalkeeper in Croatia and even managed to out-perform the esteemed Livaković in some areas last season.

The youngster led the league for prevented goals, bested Livaković on aerial duals, and had a comparable return of clean sheets; no mean feat given Lokomotiva’s mid-table finish.

Despite his young age, Čavlina demonstrated remarkable confidence and assertiveness in his performances last season and looks to have all the attributes required of a future top-class goalkeeper; Confidence in abundance, good shot-stopping and command of his area, and exceptional distribution from the back.

With Livaković en route to Fenerbahçe, it is possible that Dinamo Zagreb may utilise their link with Lokomotiva to re-sign Čavlina after a season away.  As with Vidovšek, this may require Celtic to act quickly if they have an interest in the player.


Radoslaw Majecki

Age: 23
Club: AS Monaco
International: Poland, 1 cap
Market Value: €5 million (source:

Majecki has just returned to AS Monaco after a season on loan at Cercle Brugge in Belgium where the Polish stopper established himself as one of the leading keepers in the league.  However, with Monaco splashing out €10 million on RB Salzburg’s Philipp Köhn, the Pole could be looking for a new home.

Majecki is a reliable shot-stopper, keeping 9 clean sheets last season and ending with a league-high prevented goals of 0.23 goals per 90 minutes.  While his confidence in dealing with one-on-one situations is also a highlight of his game.

His long passing could be improved, however, in general, Majecki is comfortable with the ball at his feet and would represent an upgrade on Joe Hart in this respect.

If signed, Majecki, Vidovšek or Čavlina would immediately challenge for the number one spot and provide real competition in an area of the park we need strengthening for an assault on Europe.

Kevin McCluskie


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