Friday, June 2, 2023

Celtic Defender Wants To Continue At The Club Beyond This Season: 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.

Mikael Lustig has been a loyal servant for Celtic in the past six years, but there is no denying that his performances have been on a downward trajectory for quite some time now. With him being in the final six months of his contract, there is still no news about Celtic offering him a new deal. As a result, there is bound to be speculation about his future, and the defender recently talked about that.

The right-back has been linked with a move back to his homeland with Swedish club AIK, but Lustig is still persistent about staying on with the Hoops. He was quoted as saying (Expressen), ”There’s really nothing to say there because it’s nothing. (Rumours linking him to AIK). I have a contract with Celtic and hope to extend here. The ball lies with them. If they want me to continue, I will stay here”

This is not the first time that Lustig has made it clear that he wants to extend his stay here, but quite a few would agree that he has been one of the major weak links at the back this season.

The 31-year-old gets away with it in the Premiership as Celtic dominate their games but Lustig has often been found out in the Europa League matches this season. Even in the Old Firm derby, he wasn’t able to deal with Ryan Kent and he committed himself on the byline which gave Kent a chance to pick out a right pass and Ryan Jack scored from that.

The Hoops have been linked with quite a few right backs in the last two transfer windows, but nothing has materialised yet. There is no doubt that defensively, Lustig has struggled big time and he definitely needs to be replaced if Celtic want to take their game to the next level.

We believe the Hoops can look to sign a new young right back in the next two transfer windows and offer Lustig a year-long extension. The Swedish defender can probably continue as a backup right back for another season. Current second choice option Cristian Gamboa is also in the last six months of his contract, and it is very likely that he would not be offered a new deal (our opinion).

Therefore Celtic can lose two right backs by the end of the season. So keeping hold of Lustig as a backup option makes sense. However, it remains to be seen whether the defender would willingly take on this change in the pecking order. For this to happen though, Celtic need to nail down the signing of one right-back, and hopefully, Lustig would be happy playing in a deputising role.

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