Celtic, the Scottish champions, were in shambles in the early weeks but have gathered some momentum of late and went past Hearts to secure the leading spot of Premiership standings prior to the international break.
However, the Hoops are expecting a sterner test this term in their title defence, particularly in the aftermath of Rangers’ resurgence under Steven Gerrard who are only two points adrift of the famous rivals. Brendan Rodgers, the Parkhead chief must be anxious about the underwhelming display of a few of their experienced stars and should start looking for a resolution in the long run.
If reports are believed to be true, Celtic are keeping close tabs on Swansea City prodigy Connor Roberts, the Welshman who has been in stupendous form for both his club and country. The 23-year-old right fullback made four Premier League appearances last season when the Swans got demoted to the Championship but grabbed a starting role this term under new boss Graham Potter and emerged as one of their most influential resources with great attacking ability as well as defensive resilience.
Roberts, meanwhile, will be a free agent at the end of the ongoing campaign and has not yet penned a new deal keeping others teams on the lookout. Celtic, among all others, have emerged as the strongest contender to tie down the youngster to a new deal to replace Mikael Lustig who has been a shadow of his earlier self and might not be retained beyond next summer when his current contract expires.
Although the 31-year-old Swedish international is hoping to extend his stay in Glasgow, the Champions are yet to offer him a contract fuelling speculations of an end to Lustig’s more than seven years of service since completing a transfer from Rosenborg BK.
Celtic have Cristian Gamboa as the understudy who has rarely featured under Rodgers and is likely to part ways next year. This might see the Hoops offering Lustig a short-term contract but only to remain as a fill-in. Roberts would bring in more stability, robustness and dynamicity similar to Kieran Tierney, the homegrown Scotsman who has been a revelation in the left-back role with his darting runs, attacking attributes and shooting ability.
The Swans prospect has also been deployed as a wingback, right midfielder as well as a wide attacker, therefore, would inject versatility down the right flank. But the Celts need to speed up the chase in January and wrap up a deal at the earliest for this exciting talent.