According to reports, Celtic are closing in on the signing of Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm from Valarenga.

Media reports in Holm’s homeland claim that a £2.5m deal has been agreed that will see the 20-year-old become the Scottish champion's first signing of the 2023 summer transfer window.  

This scout report will analyse Holm’s data from this season’s Eliteserien and take a closer look at his playing style, strengths, areas for improvement and where he could fit into Celtic’s midfield.

Player profile

Born in Oslo in 2003, Holm has come through the ranks at his hometown club Valarenga, making his debut in 2019.

Capped from U15 to U20 level for Norway, the young midfielder convinced his parents to allow him to officially add ‘Thiago’ to his name in honour of Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder, his footballing idol.

Catching the eye of some of Europe's biggest clubs, Holm has already had trials with Thiago’s Liverpool and Juventus. He was even offered a deal with Juve but turned down a move to the Italian giants to remain at Valarenga and gain more first-team experience.

His decision to continue his development in his homeland has paid off with the young midfielder going on to make 76 first-team appearances to date, establishing himself as a key player for the Norwegian side.

Knee injuries have hampered his development with Holm missing the opening periods of the 2021 and 2022 Eliteserien but he has stayed injury free this season, playing over 800 league minutes so far in the 2023 season.

A versatile central midfielder, Holm has primarily operated as a holding midfielder, where he has been tasked with building play from deep positions as the single pivot in Valarenga’s favoured 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 formations. However, he has also showcased his adaptability by occasionally playing as an eight.

As his heatmap shows, although more often than not playing in a deeper midfield role, he takes plenty of touches in the opposition half and covers back to his own box too. 

In terms of his physical profile, Holm stands at 5ft 11in and has a slender, rangy frame.

Although he has only played just over 800 minutes of league football so far this season, a relatively small sample size, the above percentile rank chart can start to build a picture of Holm’s playing profile.

The charts use Wyscout per-90-minute data converted into percentile ranks to compare him with other central midfielders and central defensive midfielders in this year’s Norwegian’s top flight. Both cover key several attacking, possession and defending metrics.

Given he has played more often than not in a deeper midfield role, it is not much of a surprise to see Holm rank towards the bottom of most of the attacking metrics. The one area where he does stand out here is his shots-on-target percentage but he admittedly has only averaged a lowish 0.45 shots per 90 this season.

Holm’s Valarenga have had a difficult season, currently sitting 13th in the league. However, they appear to be a possession-based side, averaging the third-highest ball possession (54.5 per cent). Holm plays a relatively active role in this, averaging 39.4 passes per 90, which is around average for an Eliteserien midfielder this season.

Impressively, he ranks in the top quartile for his pass completion rate but most of his passes are likely to be shorter given his low ranks for progressive passes and dangerous passes (through passes and key passes combined).

Looking at his defensive section, the young midfielder is pretty active out of possession with his volume of defensive duels (5.36 per 90) just below average and his aerial duels just above average (3.13 per 90).

His success rate in both is above average in the league for a midfielder, his 60.4 per cent win rate in defensive duels sees him rank in the 64th percentile while his aerial duel win rate (60.7 per cent) ranks even higher, among the highest of any central midfielder in the league.

Holm also makes an above-average number of PAdj Interceptions (5.91 per 90) for an Eliteserien midfielder.


Moving beyond the data to seeing Holm in action, the first thing that stands out is his exceptional quality in possession.

The way he receives and manipulates is particularly impressive. He is well-balanced, agile and uses all parts of both feet, all of which make him an effective ball progressor.

Despite not ranking too high in some of the volume passing metrics, Holm has been the fulcrum of Valarenga’s midfield, taking on the responsibility for linking the defence and midfield. A role often given to a more experienced player, this further highlights Holm’s talents in possession. 

He is proficient in both short and, despite not ranking too highly in the percentile rank chart, longer passes displaying accuracy and vision in his distribution. His ability to play with both feet also adds a layer of unpredictability to his game too, making it challenging for opponents to anticipate his next move.

His composure and intelligence also make it difficult to trap him in tight spaces. His first touch is excellent, enabling him to exert effortlessly to bring the ball under control even in high-pressure situations.

His passing prowess sees Holm dictate from deep but he is also capable of breaking lines thanks to his dynamic dribbling too.

He is a powerful ball carrier and uses a combination of feints, body movements, and changes of direction to deceive opponents and maintain possession for his side.

The below example encapsulates Holm at his best in possession.

After receiving the ball from the left centre-back from wide, Holm swivels to face upfield in a central position.

He then pauses, inviting pressure from the opposition midfielder, before then executing a swift body feint to escape his attentions, stepping forward and away into space.

After taking the ball on another few steps, Holm lifts his head and spreads a nice ball out wide to his full-back on the opposite side.

While his fine technical abilities and intelligence compensate for his lack of physical presence, adding strength and improving his physicality could enhance his overall game.

Building muscle mass and working on his upper body strength would allow him to hold off challenges from more physical opponents.


As his data profile showed, Holm is fairly proactive out of possession. He has good technique when going into duels and is more often than not clean in his tackling. For all the defensive output highlighted in his percentile rank chart, he has averaged less than one foul a game in the league (0.81 per 90).

An example of his work rate without the ball, and clean talking is shown below.

Sprinting across to match the run of the opposing team’s right-back, Holm gets a leg in from the side to stop his opponent in his tracks, cleanly winning the ball and putting it out for a throw.

Overall, Holm shows good intensity in his defensive work but he can be a bit too keen to jump up to press at times which leaves gaps in behind.  

This is mostly down to his youthful exuberance and something that is easily coachable as he develops.


As well as being an effective ball-progressor in possession and an energetic disrupter out of possession, Holm can also pose a significant goal threat from the edge of the area thanks to his exceptional ability to strike the ball with a combination of power and finesse.

Evident in the range of passes he can execute with precision as already mentioned, Holm’s ball-striking is of high quality too.

He tends to shoot from central areas on the edge of the box, as shown in his career shot map below.

One example of his threat from the edge of the box was his excellent finish against league rivals Rosenborg last season.  

Picking the ball up on the inside left channel, Holm quickly cut inside, holding off an opposition midfielder to place a brilliant, curled effort into the top right corner of the goal.

There are times he could be a bit more decisive with his final ball in the attacking third and can be guilty of overhitting through balls.

He has shown an ability to be very creative with his passing in and around the box though, such as in the following example where he perfectly timed a lifted ball over the top with his weaker left to pick out a teammate.


With real technical prowess, versatility and game intelligence beyond his years, Holm is already a well-rounded central midfielder who has the potential to make an immediate impact on the Celtic squad.

Dynamic and elegant, he does have some rough edges to his game, and perhaps some physical development still to do, but nothing that cannot be addressed as he continues to progress in his career.

What is noticeable when watching him is how he plays with a real personality too so he would likely be unfazed by a move to the Glasgow goldfish bowl. 

It is difficult to say exactly where he may fit into the Celtic team given it will go through several changes this summer following the departure of manager Ange Postecoglou.

However, no matter what changes there are in the squad over the coming weeks, or what system Celtic play next season, having a technically gifted, high-energy and mouldable young midfielder like Holm in the building at Lennoxtown will be a big asset for the new manager.