Liverpool drive hard bargain as Celtic learn Caoimhin Kelleher price tag

Caoimhin Kelleher has been linked with a move from Liverpool. (Image: Getty)

Celtic will be forced to pay way in excess of £20million if they want to bring Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to the club this summer. The Scottish Premier League champions are in the market for a new No.1 following the retirement of Joe Hart, who bowed out in style following the Scottish Cup final win over Rangers at Hampden Park.

And they’ve been strongly linked with a move for the 25-year-old Irish international, who came to the fore under Jurgen Klopp last season.

In his most productive season since breaking into the senior ranks at Anfield in 2019, Kelleher made 26 appearances as he benefited from the injury problems of Allison.

But should he stay fit, the Brazilian is expected to regain the keeper’s spot on a regular basis in the 2024/25 campaign. It’s led to speculation that Kelleher, who has also struggled to displace Gavin Bazunu as Ireland’s first choice keeper, will move from Merseyside in a bid to get more game time.

Indeed, significantly, on Wednesday it was confirmed that Spanish keeper Adrian had been offered a new deal at Liverpool, despite not making a single senior appearance in the past 12 months. The 37-year-old had been expected to be released once his contract expired, with the offer now appearing an insurance move by new manager Arne Slot to guard against Kelleher’s potential departure.

However, This Is Anfield has said that the club are not prepared to let the player go on a cut price deal. Liverpool seemingly want a far more significant figure than the £20m valuation that was initially reported.

Celtic want a replacement for Joe Hart. (Image: Getty)

Indeed, last summer Burnley paid Manchester City £19m for James Trafford, who is currently in England’s provisional squad for Euro 2024. At that point he had no top flight experience to his name while Kelleher has played 47 times for Liverpool, and has established a reputation as a reliable keeper for both club and country.

And his stock rose immeasurably following the League Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley. Kelleher made a string of saves to deny the Blues, with Liverpool eventually prevailing 1-0 courtesy of Virgil van Dijk’s extra time header.

Kelleher himself has publicly admitted the ‘next step’ in his career to become a No.1. But during the final season of his tenure, Klopp made it clear the club would only consider a fee they felt adequately matched his ability.

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“It would have had to be a proper price to give us a chance of doing something in a difficult market,” he said. “It is not like other goalkeepers moving from A to B for £15m or £20m. That is totally unrealistic and nonsense.”

Back in 2021, Kelleher penned a new long term deal with the club, that runs until 2026. It means that club chiefs do not need to panic with a potential sale, given he’s not eligible to leave on a free transfer for another two years.