CELTIC are stepping up their efforts to bring in two priority signings in the summer.

The champions are scouring the market for a replacement goalkeeper after Joe Hart announced his intention to retire after three years as the Hoops’ regular No.1.

The 75 times-capped England international will celebrate his 37th birthday next month and has decided to call it a day.

Scott Bain and Benji Siegrist have been his back-up netminders over the past two seasons and both will be available if the pursuit of a new shopstopper stalls in the unpredictable world of the transfer market.

NUMBER ONE…Joe Hart will be a hard act to follow.

However, Brendan Rodgers has no such luxury of an immediate replacement at left-back if anything happens to Greg Taylor to force the Scotland international onto the sidelines, as has already occurred this season.

Alexandro Bernabei, the club’s £3.75million misfit who arrived from Argentinian top-flight side Lanus in the summer of 2022, played four consecutives games at the turn of the year, the Hoops dropped four points in two of them – 1-1 draws with Aberdeen and Kilmarnock – before he was allowed to move on a nine-month loan to Brazilian side SC Internacional.

Good luck to the defender who abhorred actually defending. I doubt if we’ll see him adorned in a green-and-white hooped shirt ever again.

Without an obvious alternative to Taylor, Rodgers has no option but to make certain he brings in a new No.3 in the summer.

Taylor deserves enormous credit for what he has achieved in recent seasons, but the toll of playing without a break appears to becoming a bit more obvious these days.

MISSING IN ACTION…Alexandro Bernabei in possibly one of his last Celtic appearances, the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie last month.

Celtic were linked with Liverpool’s Owen Beck, who had spent the first half of the campaign at Dundee, Manchester City’s Sergio Gomez, Leicester City’s Luke Thomas and Wolves’ Hugh Bueno during the January window.

For a variety of reasons, none of the proposed moves was realised.

Bueno, the 21-year-old Spanish left-back, is the one that intrigues me most and I wasn’t surprised to see his name recently crop up with a summer link to the champions via TEAMtalk.

The youngster was denied the possibility of game-time at Parkhead by the Midlands club’s gaffer Gary O’Neil who appears reluctant to offer the Under-21 international an extended opportunity at Molineux.

Bueno, who is under contract until June 30 2028, has made only five starts in 16 appearances this term and a mere seven outings in the previous three years after arriving from Spanish minnows CD Areosa for just £3,000.

My information is that the player’s agents are eager for their client to be “more visible” in the forthcoming campaign.

Teams from France and his homeland are monitoring his situation at Wolves.

Celtic are ideally placed to offer a solution – if, of course, the price is right.


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