Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Celtic Brings This American Right Back On Trial: What Should Rodgers Do With Him?

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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.

Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa have both entered the final year of their contract, and it is clear that Celtic would need to sign a new right back soon. Instead of making a big-money signing, they can instead sign (The Scottish Sun) USA Under-20 international Manny Perez who is currently on trial at Park Head.

Perez recently trained with the first team and the talented right-back could be the one for the future for the Hoops. The young fullback is attacking in his playing style and can even play further up the pitch in the wide regions. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as modern day full-backs are expected to provide a more offensive output, and their quality is often judged by what they can provide further up the pitch.

Mikael Lustig has been targetted (The Scottish Sun) by Swedish club AIK, and the player could join them if the Hoops don’t renew his contract by the end of the season. Lustig, though, in one of his interviews sounded confident (The Scottish Sun) that he would stay on at Celtic Park beyond this season as well.

However, many feel that the 31-year-old is past his prime and if Celtic want to take their game to the next level, then they should start to look at other options.

Manny Perez will definitely not be a first-team option straightaway if he manages to impress Rodgers in his trial. It is likely that he would have to bide his time in the youth and reserve squad before he gets a chance in the first team. 

Right-back is one of the spots where the club have struggled this season especially against quality opponents in Europe. Mikael Lustig has been a top professional for the club in his six years but its clear that he is on a decline and his backup option Cristian Gamboa has been well below par for quite some time now. Gamboa could probably be let go after his contract expires, but Lustig might still be offered a new deal.

If the club is looking to take a big step in terms of improvement, then they should look at signing a quality right-back in the future. Someone like Lustig can act as a backup option.

Perez currently plays for North Carolina State University and it would be interesting to see how good he can be at the top level. The 19-year-old definitely has potential, and maybe he can be a success at Park Head if he impresses the club officials on trial. For now, he is just an option for the future.

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