Saturday, December 3, 2022

Celtic Ponder Upon Making A Move For 33 Y/O In Demand Championship Ace: Best Bet For Rodgers?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Celtic have maintained their sheer dominance in Scottish football but, at the same time, are already working on the transfer objectives for the upcoming campaign. They are expecting several departures in summer and the Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers is sighting the alternatives already. They clinched an incredible domestic treble last season and are on the course of scripting the same this term too. Rangers’ return to the top tier did not trouble the Parkhead club to attain glory but the famous rivals will be desperate to reclaim their relevance and the Premiership is likely to witness a better title battle from next term onwards.

Keiren Westwood, the veteran Republic of Ireland custodian, is the latest name linked to a move to Celtic Park amidst interests from Southampton and Leeds United as well. The 33-year-old has been the first-team regular for Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday since 2014 but reportedly set for a departure upon entering the final 12 months of his current deal in summer.

Westwood, meanwhile, is having an injury-riddled campaign and is ruled out for the remainder of the season with a fresh groin strain. But his profound experience makes him a transfer target of many and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is willing to add him to compete with veteran Craig Gordon between the sticks. Dorus de Vries is 37 already and likely to be offloaded this summer.

Dundee loanee Scott Bain wants a permanent move but has not been tied down yet at Celtic Park. The Hoops, therefore, require a new goalkeeper and Westwood’s presence will see Rodgers have two great veterans to play for the ‘number 1’ slot. 

They, however, will face a strong competition from Premier League outfit Southampton who are a surprise relegation probable and want to replace out of form Fraser Forster with Westwood to contest for the first-team slot currently occupying by Alex McCarthy. At 33, the Irishman is believed to be looking for regular football and the interest of Leeds United might be enticing as well.

The Whites are having a dismal campaign and the new boss Paul Heckingbottom has omitted both of his senior custodians Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan due to a series of erroneous outings and providing opportunities to youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell to shine and be prepared for the upcoming campaign. But the 21-year-old Northern Irishman is unlikely to be a first-team regular and the presence of Westwood will help him nurture himself for at least a couple of campaigns more before knocking the first-team door on a regular basis.

Celtic, hence, need to convince the in-demand custodian ahead of the others if they truly seeking his services. Brendan Rodgers will offer him a better profile but a better role is unlikely to be guaranteed due to the towering presence of Craig Gordon. The Hoops, thus, must focus on a permanent move for Scott Bain over chasing Keiren Westwood as the Scotsman has shown his excellence in limited opportunities with promises to be a long-term successor of the 35-year-old compatriot and a future ‘number one’ for the Glasgow giants.

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