What can new signing Gustaf Lagerbielke bring to Celtic?

Celtic announced the signing yesterday of Swedish centre-back Gustaf Lagerbielke from Allsvenskan side Elfsborg for a reported fee worth around £2.9million.

The 23-year-old joins the club on a five-year deal and takes on the number four shirt worn by fellow countryman and recently departed Carl Starfelt.

Starfelt faced an uphill battle with Celtic fans after early struggles but eventually won over the Celtic support before leaving for Celta Vigo last week and the Hoops have swiftly replaced him with a younger defender who has also featured for the Swedish national team.

Lagerbielke could possibly be set to make his debut as soon as this Sunday as Celtic visit Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock in the Viaplay Cup second round. With Cameron Carter-Vickers out injured for the next few weeks, he will be eager to make a positive impression from the off to try and challenge for what is a very competitive centre-back position.

What can Gustaf Lagerbielke bring to this Celtic side and why have Celtic sought out his services?

Career so far

At senior level, Lagerbielke played for numerous clubs in Sweden before finding his footing at Sweden’s table-toppers, playing for Sollentuna, Vasteras and Degerfors.

It was a loan spell at Degerfors in the 21/22 season that really caught the eye of the Elfsborg higher-ups, as well as fans of Swedish and Nordic football. Crucially for Lagerbielke, Swedish national team manager Jannes Andersson was also watching with a keen eye and he handed the 23-year-old his first ever national team cap, playing the full 90 minutes of a 2-1 win over Iceland in an international friendly.

The following season, Lagerbielke swiftly became a staple of the Elfsborg defence that currently sits atop the Swedish Allsvenskan. With the Swedish season running on a different calendar from ours, Lagerbielke has been playing consistently over the summer with the season starting in April, notching up seven clean sheets and even chipping in with two goals in 16 league appearances.

What type of players is Lagerbielke?

With Lagerbielke being Swedish, comparisons are instantly going to be made with Carl Starfelt, however their profiles really aren’t that similar. Standing at 6ft3in, the new signing can help replace the aerial threat that Starfelt brought to the team.

He seems like a very similar player to fellow new signing Maik Nawrocki however, coming in with a pedigree of a decent passer on the left side of the centre-back pairing.

We know the importance of playing out from the back under a Brendan Rodgers system and the acquisitions of Nawrocki and Lagerbielke seem like real Brendan Rodgers signings.

He doesn’t have the raw recovery pace that Carl Starfelt has, however, much like Maik Nawrocki has shown in the early stages, he is fast enough and determined enough to not allow that to get in the way of his defending.


It seems like he has been brought in to be a third-choice, although with the right coaching and natural development of his game, he will definitely have a part to play this season.

He fits the mould of what has been a successful way of conducting business for Celtic in recent years and could be another name to add to the long list of Swedish defenders who have seen success at Parkhead.


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