Celtic are still leading the Premiership race despite being defeated by arch-rivals Rangers before the winter break. But their supremacy in Scottish football is at stake following the resurgence of the Bears under Steven Gerrard’s tutelage. The Hoops need to reconstruct the squad at the earliest and their transfer approach so far in the January window deserves plaudit compared to the disastrous summer they endured
Their backline, in particular, needs to be revamped as there is a reasonable chance of a mass exodus at the end of the ongoing campaign. Mikael Lustig, the long-serving right fullback has failed to impress enough to earn an extension beyond this term. Infact, the reports from The Scottish Sun claimed Celtic’s interest in £4m-rated Olympiakos ace Omar Elabdellaoui as a like-for-like replacement of the veteran Sweden international.
The rumour might have made the fans euphoric, but the latest quote of Brendan Rodgers does not sound affirmative regarding a spending splurge over the next couple of weeks, according to Craig Swan for The Daily Record.
“I don’t think that’s how Celtic works. The model of the club is value and maximising that value and talent and development and see it grow at the club. The young players that have come in fit that model.”
The Parkhead boss is upbeat and full on praise for Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah, i.e. the youngsters he acquired so far this month. He is also tying down two rookie Americans Andrew Gutman and Manny Perez who have impressed in their respective fullback roles.
This might serve as a major blow in pursuit of Elabdellaoui, the 27-year-old Norwegian who was once a promising asset of the Manchester City F.C. EDS and Academy. Rodgers, meanwhile, is hailed for his work with the youth and his philosophy suits Celtic’s demand of promoting young guns over the recruitment of established resources.
The Bhoys, therefore, are unlikely to break the bank this winter for reinforcements. But they must bring in an experienced right-back with both Lustig and Cristian Gamboa set to depart once their current deals expire in less than six months time. Perez might turn out to be a future star if he keeps on making the strides he is currently making. However, he should not be relied upon as the sole resource down the right-hand side of the Hoops’ backline. They need experience in that role but are unlikely to rush for Elabdellaoui, at least for the rest of the season. We really think Rodgers has made a mistake not pursuing a deal for Elabdellaoui here.