Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Celtic Defender Joins Walsall On Loan: Is This Deal Really Beneficial To Rodgers?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Celtic youngster Eoghan O’Connell has joined English League One club Walsall on loan for the rest of the season even though the young defender is yet to get international clearance. The news came out on the same day Celtic officially signed Ivorian midfield sensation Kouassi Eboue from Russian Premier League side Krasnodar. O’Connell becomes the first player to leave Celtic Park in the January transfer window even though it is only on a short-term basis.

So, Celtic fans? What do you think about this move? Personally, I would say that O’Connell needed a loan move and he deserved one. He needs to play regularly to flourish as a player and is unlikely to get that by staying with the Scottish champions. Right now, Erik Sviatchenko, Jozo Simunovic and Kolo Toure are all ahead of him in the pecking order. Rodgers has also used Mikael Lustig at centre back which limits the young Irishman’s first-team opportunities even more.

The 21-year-old will certainly return back to Celtic with more first-team experience and Rodgers will hope that he is ready for stepping into the first-team but from his experience in English football, he should know that League One is not the best league where you would expect your promising youngsters to grow. Rodgers should have arranged a club who are at least playing in the Championship.


Walsall are having a so-so season in League One this time around. They literally have very little chance of getting promoted. Neither do they have to worry about relegation. A club which is playing without any incentive might not be the best challenge for O’Connell at this stage of his career.

He is a quality player who came in handy for Rodgers earlier this season when Celtic faced an injury crisis in defence. The 21-year-old played seven games in all competitions for the Hoops including three Champions League qualifiers. Apart from the 7-0 hammering at the hands of Barcelona, he never ended up on the losing side. A loan experience at a Championship club would have been more beneficial for him.

Both Efe Ambrose and Kolo Toure are going out of contract at Parkhead in the summer and both might not be at the club next season. O’Connell could very well be their fourth-choice centre-back next season. He is one of Celtic’s own academy products and could be a part of the club’s golden era in the next five or six years. We hope that Rodgers won’t have to regret shipping him out on loan to League One later.

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