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Celtic officially miss out, their free agent chooses new club and reveals his decision.



So that’s it. Official and confirmed. The free agent will not sign with Celtic after all.

However, this is not really surprising.

It’s been clear for a while that one prospective Joe Hart replacement would not be arriving at Parkhead.

Dutch publication Brabants Dagblad claimed a few weeks ago that Celtic had ‘concrete interest’ in RKC Waalwijk’s departing goalkeeper Etienne Vaessen.

A goalie whose contract was about to expire was bidding an emotional farewell to the club he had represented in the first team for a decade.

All evidence pointed to Vaessen joining freshly promoted FC Groningen. And one of Dutch football’s worst-kept secrets was revealed this week, with the seasoned glovesman signing a three-year contract with a fourth option at Euroborg.

Celtic connected Etienne Vaessen joined FC Groningen.
Despite Groningen’s promotion to the second tier last season, Vaessen believes that one of Dutch football’s sleeping giants is still a step up in terms of the pressures and expectations ‘I am used to’.

“I’m talking about the stadium and the training complex. I also discussed it with Frank van Mosselveld when it was announced that he would become the new director here,” Vaessen tells Dagblad van het Noorden, having reconnected with the former RKC chief at his new club.

Of course, Van Mosselveld is also from RKC. We go back a long way. ‘Why FC Groningen?’ I inquired. He previously stated that it has the potential to be the Netherlands’ sixth-best club.

“Now, it is clear to me why.”

Vaessen would then name the clubs that attempted to sign him before deciding on Groningen. The 28-year-old made no mention of Celtic, implying that Brendan Rodgers’ side chose not to increase their original interest despite reports that the Scottish champions have switched their emphasis elsewhere.

“I thought it was time to step outside of my comfort zone,” says Vaessen, who advanced through the ranks at RKC. “That could have been done at other clubs like Rakow in Poland, Persepolis in Iran, or Estoril in Portugal.” They were also interested.

But I wondered if I’d still be pleased there after a month. I came to the conclusion that I would rather stay in the Netherlands.

Joe Hart should be replaced at Parkhead.
A month after Joe Hart ended his Celtic career with a league and Scottish Cup double, Celtic appear no closer to finding a replacement for the recently retired, 75-cap English international.

Martin Dubravka, Dominik Livakovic, and Viljami Sinisalo are all tied. HITC understands that Liverpool’s Coaimhin Kelleher is the top target.

However, potential trades for Patrick Pentz and Michael Zetterberg are no longer viable. The former signed with Brondby in Denmark, while the latter remains at Werder Bremen.

There is still the Horatiu Moldovan alternative, however. Linked with Celtic in January, the Moldovan now wants to leave Atletico Madrid after losing his status as Romania’s number one before the European Championships.

“I want to leave Atletico Madrid in the summer or winter,” Moldovan said on the Tare de tot cu Viorel Grigoroiu podcast. “I’m not sure if I’ll leave now since it depends on how I perform at the Euros with Romania. It depends on the opportunities that come.

“But I absolutely want to leave and play. If a good big league team presents itself to me, I’d like to go. We’ll see what offers appear.

“You cannot pass up the opportunity to sign with Atletico. “But I want to play.”

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