Rubin Kazan never planned to sell Carl Starfelt this summer but a £4 million bid from Scottish Premiership giants Celtic twisted their arm, sporting director Oleg Yarovinsky has told Business Online.
Whether the Sweden international centre-back will prove to be worth his transfer fee – one that saw Rubin make a £3.2 million profit on a player they signed for just £800,000 two years before – remains to be seen.
While Joe Hart, Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada have wasted no time in establishing themselves at Parkhead, it has been a difficult couple of weeks for Starfelt.
A punishing Premiership debut in the opening-day defeat to Hearts was a sign of things to come, with the former IFK Goteborg man looking more like the second coming of Rafael Scheidt (talk about nominative determinism) than Virgil van Dijk 2.0, particularly as he sliced a horror own goal into the net against AZ Alkmaar.
Rubin Kazan signing Carl Starfelt can come good for Celtic
Starfelt isn’t the first player to struggle to adapt to life on British soil, however, and it would be unfair to judge a man who has spent his entire professional career in Sweden and Russia after just two months in green-and-white hoops.
“There was a proposal for Karl Starfelt, who we didn’t initially plan to sell,” says Yarovinsky.
“But we received an offer that was good for both Karl and us, so we accepted it.”
Starfelt produced one of the more convincing performances of his embryonic Celtic career on Saturday, starting alongside debutant (and goalscorer) Cameron Carter-Vickers in a 3-0 victory over Ross County in Glasgow.
The result means Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic are now fifth in the Premiership table, three points behind Old Firm rivals and league leaders Rangers with five games played.
If Starfelt and Carter-Vickers can build on Saturday’s display, however, that will go some way to giving Postecoglou and co the platform they need.