Erik Sviatchenko opens up on Celtic's summer transfer interest and why he turned his former club down

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Former Celtic star reveals truth in Parkhead return rumours
Former Celtic star reveals truth in Parkhead return rumours

ERIK SVIATCHENKO could have potentially returned to Celtic last summer, the defender has revealed.

It was Celtic who decided to go down a different route with their transfer activity and Sviatchenko remained at his hometown club Midtjylland.

The Dane was signed by Ronny Deila and he also revealed that a move to Premier League side Leicester City could have been on the cards, with an offer of £11million having been tabled.

Sviatchenko instead headed back to Midtjylland after his playing time was cut by former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.

He captained the Danish side to a victory against the Hoops which knocked them out of the Champions League earlier this season, but he could have been lining up against his current club in that game.

Speaking about the move, he told Football Scotland: "There was actually a little bit of truth in it.

"We had some initial talks with Celtic but the new manager wanted players that he had to choose.

"As I understood it, I was highly-rated and someone who could have been considered but they took a different centre-back.

"It was nice to be linked and it did blow up on the internet which was fun to be a part of.

"It was just between my agent and the club. It was a hectic speculation time."

The defender won four trophies with Celtic, spending a full year in the starting XI before his game time was cut under Rodgers, despite rejecting a huge move south of the border.

Leicester’s bid of £11million was rejected by Peter Lawwell and Sviatchenko decided he wanted to stay at the Hoops.

But after serving a ban in the first game back after the transfer window, he struggled to get back into the side.

He added: "It was of course an annoying period. After January 17, I had just played one full season.

"I played every single game almost for the first six months under Ronny, and then the first six months under Brendan.

"Leicester City were ready to pay big money I think. They had an offer rejected of around £10million or £11m from Celtic. I was really in doubt as well if I wanted to go.

"So I said to Celtic, 'Listen, I might stay if it's okay?' In the end, Celtic said 'You are our key player, and we want you to say'. I think they wanted £13m or something like that.

"At that point, Leicester had £15m to pay for two centre-backs, so they said they could maybe pay £7m up front and then loan the other, but Celtic weren't agreeing to those terms which I respected and thought, 'Okay, I'll just be even better for the next season or two and we'll see what happens and I might have my move one day, because that's normal in football'.

"But then suddenly when we came back, I had a suspension in the first League Cup game where Dedryck [Boyata] and Jozo played.

"They won, and Dedryck did well, and the next game coming up I thought I would be back in the team because I knew I had been playing all the games, but I was on the bench.

"The third game coming up, I was on the bench again, but Jozo had suffered an injury the day before, and one-and-a-half hours before the game, he [Rodgers] said to me, 'Erik, you are starting'.

"I thought, 'Okay, I'll take my chance'. I had man of the match awarded to me, he came to me afterwards in the gym and said, 'Listen, that's the way I want you to play. Be more aggressive with the ball, try to penetrate with the ball'.

"I was lacking a bit of lead in some way and so for three or four games, I was out again and was a regular rotation player. From playing against Lionel Messi to this, it was a bit of a contrast."

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