Celtic have reportedly been scouting a 17-year-old goalkeeper who has yet to make his league debut for his current club.
The Scottish Sun reported quotes from Gillingham manager Steve Evans saying that the Hoops are among a handful of clubs who have sent representatives to watch teenage prospect Joe Walsh.
Evans, who The Scottish Sun claimed to be a Celtic fan, said: “Celtic have been here, Everton have been here, overseas clubs, a couple of German clubs saying they are looking at our young goalkeeper. But there is a difference between looking and being prepared to come back and buy someone.”
Walsh has not yet played in League One for Gillingham, with all three of his appearances for the club to date coming in the EFL Trophy. [via TransferMarkt]
He conceded seven goals in his first two games in that competition before keeping a clean sheet as the Gills defeated Tottenham’s under-23 side 2-0. [via TransferMarkt]
Despite his inexperience at senior level, Evans has described the 17-year-old as “a big asset to us“, while the reported interest of Everton and some German clubs in the teenager as well as Celtic (according to The Scottish Sun) is an indicator of his potential.
The Hoops have signed a few teenage players in recent months with a probable eye to the future, bringing in Jeremie Frimpong, Lee O’Connor, Luca Connell and Jonathan Afolabi. Only the former has played for the first team thus far but his 11 Celtic appearances indicate that Neil Lennon is willing to give youngsters an opportunity if he feels they deserve it.
Celtic could also face a shortage of goalkeeping options next year, with the futures of two of their current three senior ‘keepers yet to be clarified.
Their hopes of signing on-loan Fraser Forster permanently could be complicated by the England man’s £70,000-a-week wages (as per Football Insider), while 36-year-old Craig Gordon is reportedly contemplating retirement next summer (Football Insider) and, in any case, his contract with the Hoops is set to expire at the end of this season.
With Forster firmly established as first choice this season and conceding just 13 goals in 22 games so far in 2019/20, it should come as no surprise that Celtic want to secure a permanent deal for him.
If the Hoops follow through on their apparent interest in Walsh and bring him to Parkhead, he would likely go there as backup given his inexperience at senior level.
However, with Frimpong showing that youngsters can break into the team and a potential shortage of goalkeepers if Forster and Gordon aren’t around next season, Celtic’s reported interest in the Gillingham teenager makes plenty of sense.
Celtic fans, do you think the club are right to show an interest in Walsh or do they need a more experienced goalkeeper if Forster and/or Gordon should leave? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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