Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Celtic’s 254 Caps Veteran Draws Interest From European Outfit: What Should Be Rodgers’ Play?

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Ayush Chaurasia
Sports Management Graduate. Wannabe sports manager/writer and researcher. If not found disscussing about sports, will be seen talking about movies or tv shows. Miserable rest of the times.

Latest reports from the Swedish media suggests that Celtic’s interim captain Mikael Lustig is likely to be targetted by  Swedish outfit AIK after his contract expires in the summer. It is also being said that the right-back is willing to return to his homeland and AIK are among the top bracket of clubs where he wouldn’t mind moving. Lustig has come in for a fair bit of criticism this season for his performances, and as of now, there have been no talks regarding a new contract for the right back.

However, the reports seem very contradictory to what Lustig said a few days back. He was asked about his future recently to which he said,”You can wonder as much as you want, but I have a contract with Celtic and I think I’ll play there next year too.”

It’s not been just this season but in the past year or so, the right-back has been one of the weak points at the back for the Hoops. His intention and commitment for the club cannot be faulted but his performance on the pitch has gone down a notch or two since he joined the club in 2012.

The 31-year-old has especially struggled in the Europa League this season and one wouldn’t be wrong in saying that he has been behind some glaring errors which have led to the opposition capitalising on those mistakes and punishing Celtic.

A move to his home country could be a good one for the player as currently, it seems the club isn’t too keen on giving him a new contract and rightly so. The Bhoys might get away playing with Lustig in the domestic games but if Brendan Rodgers wants to form a formidable force in Europe, then he needs to look at a new fullback to fill in for the 254 caps veteran.

Celtic were linked with Cristiano Piccini in the summer who happened to be a right back but like most of their other targets, the Hoops failed to land him and the player went on to join La Liga outfit Valencia. We can expect some activity from the club in the future transfer windows as both the current right back are set to be out of contract by the summer of 2019 (The other being Cristian Gamboa).

Maybe Rodgers still has a case for keeping him as a backup option but it remains to be seen whether the player would accept playing in such a role. The Swedish international can, of course, move to AIK to play regular football and see out his career but if left to us, Lustig shouldn’t be more than a backup in the next season at Park Head.

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