Jörgen Strand Larsen (Halden, 6-2-2000) is the striker chosen to complete the remodeling of the squad. The Norwegian and his agent, Tore Pedersen, have been in Vigo since yesterday. Today the official announcement of his signing should be made. The operation was sufficiently advanced for Groningen to authorize the trip but not so far that Celta, faithful to his protocols, announced his arrival publicly, as he did with Mingueza or Carles Pérez. In any case, great last-minute difficulties were not expected. Larsen should pose today with the light blue shirt.
Luis Campos, architect of the reform, bets on Larsen. The Portuguese ideologue had kept open options of different profiles to reinforce the lead; from the most accomplished Bakambu and Braithwaite to emerging talents such as the Norwegian. Larsen had two years remaining on his contract with Groningen. The Dutch directive had promised to study interesting offers this summer. He had already rejected those of Middlesbrough and Bologna; also a first Celtic attempt of 10 million euros. Tore Pedersen, annoyed with the club’s attitude, considered the exit unfeasible.
The situation has evolved radically in this end of the market, when the football metabolism accelerates. Pedersen and Larsen decided to push. The player did not show up for training on Tuesday. Pedersen denied that his client was in default, but said he was disheartened by the situation. Groningen has relaxed his position. In the absence of closing the transfer, figures between 11 and 13 million euros are handled; perhaps reserving Groningen a future percentage. Larsen will not break the record set by Catanha (15 million) in 2000. He will move close to the podium completed by Emre Mor (13) and Denis Suárez (12.9).
Larsen extends that modern fondness of Celta towards the Nordic school which began precisely with the first celestial Norwegian, Dan Eggen –Demidov, born in Latvia but nationalized, would be the second–. So, an exception with Félix Carnero; from today’s perspective, a precursor. Campos’ predecessors in sports management, Miguel Torrecilla and Felipe Miñambres, frequently used Danes and Swedes (Krohn-Dehli, Wass, Guidetti, Hjulsager, Jensen, Pione Sisto…) or players who played in those leagues, such as Lobotka. On balance, with mixed results.
Campos has focused his clinical eye on those latitudeswith Swedberg or widening the look to the Netherlands, one of the traditional outputs of the Scandinavian footballer. AZ Alkmaard’s Jesper Karlsson will remain the unfulfilled dream of the summer. Larsen, as the great signing that must now undergo the League examination.
Larsen feels he has matured enough to make the leap. He competes precisely with Eggen (1.92) or Penev (1.93) in terms of Celtic top in height. Raised in modest Kvik Halden, he moved to Sarpsborg at the age of 15. Milan recruited him on loan for their spring team. His numbers with the Lombard youth were good (37 games, 5 goals, 1 assist), but the purchase was not executed. Groningen signed him as their property in 2020. Although at the beginning of his career he alternated on the right wing, in the Netherlands he has specialized as a nine area. His numbers reflect his growth: 9 goals and 5 assists in 30 games in the 20-21 season; 14 and 2 in 32 last year. He arrives fit. He has played every minute of the first four days of the Eredivise, with a goal and an assist.
Larsen handles himself well in the air game and in taking advantage of lateral centers with both legs and all hitting surfaces. It is also exhibited in back work and downloads. It squares with what Coudet needed. The great unknown focuses on his adaptation to the speed of the League and the intensity, especially defensively, that Coudet demands.