Five Former Celtic Players Strutting Their Stuff South of the Border

After successfully bringing silverware into Paradise, Ange Postecoglou made the move to the Premier League to become the new Tottenham boss at the beginning of June, 2023. Going the other way back up north was Brendan Rodgers making a return to Parkhead after his tenure at Leicester City fell apart.

Given those managerial moves, it does give the potential for some player transfers to also happen. It wouldn’t be uncommon for the respective managers to potentially go and raid their former clubs for some of their favoured talents. High-profile player transfers between English and Scottish clubs are not too common in modern times though. Remember when Liverpool signed Kenny Dalglish, arguably their best ever player for just £440,000 in the summer of 1977?

So while Celtic’s dominance in the Scottish Premiership will likely have punters heavily backing them for more silverware success at Revolut betting sites (as well as sites accepting other payment systems), here’s a look at some of the more recent players who have carved out a career in England’s top flight following a move from Celtic.

Virgil van Dijk – Celtic to Liverpool via Southampton

Virgil van Dijk of Celtic in action during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match between Celtic and FC Internazionale Milano on February 19, 2015 (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The Liverpool defender comes in at the top of the list, as arguably one of the most prominent former Celtic players to have made it at an English Premier League club. After joining the Hoops from Groningen in 2013, the centre half made the long trip to England’s south coast to join Southampton.

His status then went through the roof as Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp targeted the defender. The saga over Van Dijk’s proposed move to Anfield dragged on with the player putting in a transfer request, and refusing to play for the Saints in a bid to force his move to Liverpool.

The move eventually went through, with Liverpool paying £75m for the player. But the Dutchman, who helped Liverpool to their 2019 Champions League title and their only Premier League title to date in 2019/20, remains Celtic’s most successful player to move to England.

Kieran Tierney – Celtic to Arsenal

Arsenal’s Keiran Tierney left Celtic Park in August 2019 to join the Gunners, costing the English club £25m. It was a big move for the former Celtic youth product and the left-back has established himself as a regular for the Gunners, but there have been rumours that he could be moving on as competition for places has increased at Arsenal.

Tierney put in 27 appearances for Arsenal during the 2022/23 Premier League season, in which the Gunners came so close to landing the title. The Scotland international won five league titles, three Scottish Cups and three League Cups with Celtic and has also collected cup silverware from his time in North London.

Odsonne Edouard – Celtic to Crystal Palace

Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates after scoring their sides second goal during the Scottish Cup final match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Hampden Park National Stadium on December 20, 2020. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Odsonne Edouard made a big 2021 summer move from Celtic Park to Selhurst Park to join Crystal Palace. During his time in the Scottish Premiership Edouard averaged a goal every 114 minutes. That dropped significantly to an average of a goal per 306 minutes from his time in the English top flight. There hasn’t been much of a shift in his market value from the £14m that the Eagles paid to sign him.

But the potential is there of course, but life in the English top flight as a goalscorer, Edouard has found a little tougher going. But if he can get a good couple of seasons under his belt, there’s plenty of time for Edouard to become a big-time player in the Premier League.

Fraser Forster – Celtic to Southampton

07.11.2012 Glasgow, Scotland. Lionel Messi and Fraser Forster in action during the Champions League game between Celtic and Barcelona from Celtic Park. Celtic won the match 2-1, with Forster outstanding against the best club side in the world at that time.

Another link between Celtic and Southampton is goalkeeper Fraser Forster. Remarkably the shot-stopper has had four separate spells at Celtic during his career. He first went there on loan in 2010 from Newcastle and was back and forth between the two clubs before Celtic finally purchased him for a measly £2m in 2012.

A couple of years later he was sold on to Southampton for £10m and Forster had, on a personal level, a highly successful time at the club too, getting called up for England while he was at St Mary’s.

Forster returned to Celtic in August 2019 and helped the Hoops win another Premiership title and memorably a League Cup where Forster was outstanding, saving a penalty kick from Alfredo Morelos, then of theRangers.

Remarkably from his time in the Scottish top flight, Forster earned a ridiculous 92 clean sheets in 168 appearances. After a return to Southampton following his loan deal, Forster moved on a free transfer to Tottenham in July 2022.

Kristoffer Ajer – Celtic to Brentford

Young defender Kristoffer Ajer has played a big part in establishing Brentford as a Premier League name after their promotion to the top flight in 2021. The Bees centre half was signed by Celtic from Norwegian side Start back in 2016, before going out on loan to Kilmarnock. Ajer was incidentally made captain of Start, becoming the youngest-ever player to lead a team in Norway’s top flight.

Ajer returned to Celtic Park from his Kilmarnock loan, in the summer of 2017 and put in some impressive shifts before attracting interest from Brentford. Brentford purchased him for what now looks like a bargain £13.5 million deal on the back of their promotion to the top flight. Ajer had to deal with a lot of injury problems during his second season in England and needs to bounce back from that.

In Summary

Wanyama’s goal against Barcelona in 2012.

Many Celtic players have been bought by Premier League clubs, like Victor Wanyama (yet another tie to Southampton) and Bournemouth’s Ryan Christie. But the highest transfer fee commanded in a switch from Celtic to a Premier League club remains the £25m paid by Arsenal for Keiran Tierney on deadline day in August 2019. In terms of silverware success since moving south, it’s Van Dijk that wins hands down.

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