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Gustaf Lagerbielke: Celtic sign Sweden defender on five-year deal | 'Virgil Van Dijk a huge inspiration'

Celtic have signed Gustaf Lagerbielke on a five-year deal; the Swedish international defender arrives from IF Elfsborg for around £3m; the 23-year-old is Brendan Rodgers' sixth summer signing

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New Celtic signing Gustaf Lagerbielke is excited to be following in the footsteps of his 'inspiration' Virgil van Dijk

Celtic have announced the signing of defender Gustaf Lagerbielke from Elfsborg on a five-year deal.

The 23-year-old arrives from IF Elfsborg in a deal worth around £3m following the departure of fellow Swedish defender Carl Starfelt who left for LaLiga side Celta Vigo.

Lagerbielke - who will wear the No 4 jersey at Celtic Park - made 16 appearances in the Swedish league this season and won his first international cap in January, playing in a friendly win over Iceland.

Following his move he revealed his excitement at following the footsteps of his "inspiration" Virgil van Dijk.

"Virgil van Dijk, who has been here before, is a huge inspiration," Lagerbielke said in his first media conference at Celtic Park.

"Also how he is outside of the pitch, he is very professional and keen on getting better all the time. And on the pitch of course with his leadership, duelling and passing, he is a really good player.

"He was a great player for Celtic and did a lot of good things, so he is an inspiration."

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk spent two seasons at Celtic
Image: Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk spent two seasons at Celtic

When asked to tell Celtic fans what kind of player he is, Lagerbielke said: "I would describe myself as a player who loves to win, who does everything for the team.

"I can handle both short and long-range passes, good in duelling and in the air and hopefully scores a few goals."

Lagerbielke won his first Sweden cap earlier this year and is determined to do everything he can to be a success in his career.

"I put a lot of time and effort into optimising how I am on the pitch - sleep, nutrition and everything around that," he said.

"If you are a footballer and you feel well in your life then you perform better on the pitch.

"It's the whole package now, you just try to get it all as good as possible to perform on the pitch.

"In my former teams I have taken a lot of responsibility myself to develop and invest in my career."

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 16: Celtic's Gustaf Lagerbielke is pictured during a photocall at Celtic Park, on August 16, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Lagerbielke will wear the No 4 jersey at Celtic after signing a five-year deal

Gustaf becomes the sixth player that manager Brendan Rodgers has signed this summer, joining Marco Tilio, Odin Holm, Hyeokkyu Kwon, Hyunjun Yang and Maik Nawrocki.

"We are really pleased to finalise the deal for Gustaf to join the club," said Rodgers.

"He is an exciting, talented young player who has great attributes and someone who I think is ready for the challenges that Celtic will bring.

"I know he is really hungry to achieve success with us. We think he will bring even more quality to our squad and we really look forward to working with him."

Wilson: New style under Rodgers will take time

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership clash between Aberdeen and Celtic

Former defender Mark Wilson believes Celtic will continue to improve under Rodgers as the returning boss looks to implement his own style after replacing Ange Postecoglou.

Sunday's 3-1 victory at Aberdeen saw the Hoops maintain their perfect start to the league campaign as they look to win a third consecutive Scottish Premiership title.

"When you have to go away to Pittodrie in the second game of the season it's always going to present a challenge, never mind when you're a new manager coming in," Wilson said.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 05: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Ross County at Celtic Park, on August 05, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Image: Brendan Rodgers has signed six players this summer since returning to Celtic

"I thought Celtic got through the tie fine. They're not at their sparkling best, I think we all know that.

"We're seeing slight differences in the way they're playing this season compared to last season, but at the top end of the pitch they are still so sharp.

"It's going to take time for the ideas to settle into the players' minds what Brendan Rogers wants, but I think what he's done is he's taken a lot of the good work that Ange Postecoglou put in place here.

"The tempo, the inverted full-backs, overloading the midfield and I think he's put his own spin on things like any top managers do.

"The main difference is you're seeing Kyogo coming into a deeper role, coming inside when O'Riley is going beyond the striker or Maeda is going in behind.

"That really suits Kyogo's game so I think when it comes to the bigger games in the Champions League that's going to be a real plus point from a Celtic point of view."

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

The transfer window opened on June 14, but who will be on the move this summer ahead of the deadline at 11pm on September 1 in England and at midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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