When Joe Hart arrived at Parkhead last summer, Celtic supporters would have been forgiven for thinking the 34-year-old goalkeeper could already have been past his best.
Indeed, following the former England international’s departure from Manchester City back in 2018, the shot-stopper endured three seasons of relative anonymity, making just 24 appearances over a two-year spell with Burnley, before appearing a mere ten times during his one year stay at Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite this, so far this season, the £23.5k-per-week ‘keeper has proved to be something of a revelation between the Celtic sticks, highly impressing over his 29 Premiership appearances – keeping the same number of clean sheets as he has conceded goals, 16.
However, it cannot be ignored that, with Hart turning 35 later this month, the goalkeeper will not likely be Ange Postecoglou’s first choice in the position for much longer than his three-year contract – by which time the Englishman will be 38 years of age.
As such, the 56-year-old manager will already be putting a plan in place for life after Hart.
And, considering the rave reviews 18-year-old Tobi Oluwayemi has been getting for his performances with Celtic B this season, the England U19 international very much appears to be a natural successor to the Hoops’ current number one.
Indeed, speaking recently to 67HailHail, B team coach Tommy McIntyre revealed just how high his hopes for the teenager are, stating:
“He’s an England international – he plays at U19s with England. He’s showing great maturity for someone so young. He’s growing.
“He’s going up there and the feedback is that he’s doing really well training with the first team. I think he’ll always improve, he’s that type. So he’s on a good pathway and is in the right place just now. We’ve got great hopes for Tobi.”
Furthermore, in a report for The Athletic last year, Kieran Devlin also shed some light on the club’s plans for the teenager, with the journalist writing:
“It is understood the intention from the club is that Hart, who is generous with his time in helping younger players, can mentor Oluwayemi over the next few years.
“By the time summer 2024 rolls around, Hart will have just turned 37 and the club hope Oluwayemi will be ready to establish himself as No 1. Before then, they hope Oluwayemi can eventually become second choice and possibly challenge Hart for the jersey before 2024.”
As such, considering all of the noise being made regarding Oluwayemi’s future, it would indeed appear as if Postecoglou already has a ready-made successor for Hart at Lennoxtown – something that could well end up saving the Bhoys millions of pounds in transfer fees.