Celtic FC, the Scottish heavyweights, had an indelible domestic campaign under former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers who remained unbeaten and guided the Hoops to complete a domestic treble ( winning Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup). Celtic, however, had a miserable Champions League outing as they were knocked out from the group stages failing to win a single game over Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach. Although, they were unlucky to be in Champions League’s ‘Group of Death’, the Hoops, nevertheless, are not yet equipped enough to be considered among the European hotshots.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has taken a strong ‘No Sale’ stance for a host of his prized assets amidst interests from top European outfits. He wants to build a squad for future surrounding the likes of Kieran Tierney, Moussa Dembele, Stuart Armstrong, Callum McGregor and Tom Rogic and has thus rejected any sort of approach for his prodigies.
Celtic might not have been as active as their bitter rivals Rangers FC in the transfer market so far, however, they just clinched their first signing in the form of Jonny Hayes for a fee around £1 mil from runners-up Aberdeen. The 29-year old Republic of Ireland international is a direct replacement of youngster Patrick Roberts who enjoyed a blistering loan spell from Manchester City. Hayes has vast experience of Scottish as well as European football who netted 11 times in 42 appearances in all club competitions during 2016–17 campaign. Hayes, predominantly a right midfielder, is also capable of playing on both the wings and is expected to replace Roberts on the right-hand flank providing competition for Scottish international James Forrest who has progressed through the youth ranks of Celtic Football Club.
However, Rodgers now has to shift his focus in other areas as well as he needs a number of new faces to strengthen his starting lineup and increase squad depth to perform better in the upcoming UEFA Champions League competition. He has reportedly been monitoring the availability of French second tier side RC Lens’ 19-year old centre-back Jean-Kevin Duverne amidst interest from several Premier League outfits. They have reportedly made a bid of £4.8 mil for the French youngster who is expected to flourish under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers holding a long-term future ahead for the Hoops.
Also, both their goalkeepers (Craig Gordon and Dorus de Vries) are in their mid-thirties and Brendan must plan a long-term solution by bringing in an exciting young custodian. But the possibility seems to be wide of the mark as of now with Gordon signing a new deal which will keep him at the club until summer of 2020. 20-year old left-back Kieran Tierney has emerged to be one of Europe’s hottest properties and Brendan might find it difficult to retain him in long run. Fans’ favourite Emilio Izaguirre, the 31-year old Honduran international, will be staying put for at least another campaign to continue as a backup, but the gaffer must keep his eyes open and use his Premier League influence to bring in one experienced fullback who can be convenient for at least a few more campaigns.
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