Celtic add Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist to list of January transfer targets with Neil Lennon chasing deal for experienced No 1 in time for Rangers showdown
- Celtic signed Vasilis Barkas for £5million in the summer but he failed to impress
- Neil Lennon has been forced to use Scott Bain and Conor Hazard in goal
- Celtic club have now placed Benjamin Siegrist on list of January signings
Celtic have placed Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist on a list of January signing targets.
The Parkhead club are compiling a list of potential options after £5million summer signing Vasilis Barkas failed to cement his place in the starting eleven.
The Greek international’s indifferent displays forced Neil Lennon to turn to back-ups Scott Bain and Conor Hazard.
Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist is a transfer target for Neil Lennon’s Celtic
Fresh from the Scottish Cup victory, Neil Lennon is looking to strengthen the team in January
And while Hazard’s penalty heroics in Sunday’s Scottish Cup final will be enough to keep his place for the meeting with Ross County, the Parkhead boss wants an experienced keeper signed in time to face Rangers at Ibrox on January 2.
Southampton have already loaned Angus Gunn to Stoke City for the remainder of the season and will only consider a permanent deal in excess of £5m for first choice Fraser Forster.
Watched by Celtic scouts a number of times already this season, Siegrist is under contract until 2022 and available for a fee of around £1million.
The Swiss goalkeeper, 28, joined United from FC Vaduz in 2018 but could be sold next month after the Tannadice club asked their players to accept a 20 per cent wage cut.
Confirming Celtic’s scouting trips, agent Dr Thomas Kraft claims top-flight clubs in Germany, Holland and England are also in the hunt, telling Sportsmail: ‘Benjamin has had an extraordinary season and the last match against Hibernian he produced a high level performance.
‘There is interest in him from clubs in the Bundesliga and the Dutch Eredivisie.
‘Celtic have also scouted him several times, that is true. But today, at this moment, we have no official offer from Celtic.
‘Will Benjamin leave Dundee United in January? It depends on the financial situation at United. You would have to ask the club, it’s difficult for me to say.
Conor Hazard was the penalty hero for Celtic in the Scottish Cup final win over Hearts
‘If there was a chance to move to Celtic then that would be a very good step for Benjamin.
‘The other option is to sell him in the summer, but if there is an opportunity in January that could be probable.’
Meanwhile, Celtic boss Neil Lennon insists he would back shutting down football if the spread of the new strain of Covid-19 warrants it.
English League One club Ipswich Town have called for a ‘circuit-breaker’ down south to bring cases under control after five players and manager Paul Lambert were among those testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus.
The situation is not as severe in Scotland but if that changes Lennon admits he would back whatever measures the authorities deem necessary.
‘I think it depends on the area where you are living in,’ said Lennon. ‘The south east of England seems to be really bad with the new mutation of the virus, and London has been heavily hit again.
Vasilis Barkas (right) has not nailed down a spot in the first time since moving for £5m
‘I think in Scotland we do not seem to be too badly affected compared to other parts of the UK.
‘But it is obviously a very serious situation that the UK finds itself in at the minute. If it means football shutting down then so be it.’
Lennon’s plans to take Celtic on a winter break ahead of the title run-in are also up in the air due to the virus.
The Parkhead club normally head for Dubai but while the winter break has been cancelled this year the reigning champions still hope to fit in a short warm-weather getaway.
Lennon said: ‘We don’t know whether we are able to go or not.
‘Again, it’s like everything else during this pandemic – we just have to take it week by week.
‘It’s really disappointing. We felt – or at least we were hoping – in the summer that by this time everything would be back to normal.
‘Obviously that’s not the case. If anything it’s getting even more restricted. We just have to see where we go from week to week with it.
‘We will go with the guidelines and whatever protocols are set in place.’
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