Saturday, June 10, 2023

Celtic Defender Linked With A Move Back To His Homeland: What Should Be Rodgers’ Play Here?

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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.

According to the recent reports from Fotboll Direkt, Swedish giants Malmo have entered the race to sign Celtic’s Mikael Lustig. The report also adds that Malmo have made a better offer to the player than AIK who also seem to be in the mix to sign this 33-year-old veteran for free.

Lustig is currently in the final few months of his contract at Celtic Park. Brendan Rodgers hasn’t given any clue yet whether he would look to extend Lustig’s deal beyond this season. The fullback has also come under a lot of criticism for his performances this season as he has been found wanting especially against the tougher opponents in Europe.

Last year, Lustig spoke to Swedish media outlet Expressen and said, ”There’s nothing really to say there(On him leaving Celtic) because it’s nothing. 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.”

It seems clear that the defender wouldn’t mind staying on for a few more seasons, but as of now, it looks like there is no new deal on the cards for the experienced defender.

The signing of Jeremy Toljan also shows that the club is looking to replace him as Toljan has been preferred over Lustig in the last few games. The Swedish international’s performances defensively have been poor, and we believe the Hoops are taking the right call here by looking to replace him.

Signed in 2012, the defender has been part of seven Premiership triumphs and is on course for his 8th as the Bhoys have a six-point lead at the top of the Scottish top-flight table. Lustig’s abilities might have dropped down, but his determination and willingness to give everything for his team cannot be doubted. However, age is catching up with him as he is already 32 and maybe going back to his home country would be the right move for his career.

However, the Hoops can maybe still keep the Swedish fullback as a backup option by giving him a short term contract. One also needs to remember that Cristian Gamboa is also in the last six months of his contract. Therefore, the club can end up losing two of their right backs in the summer which begs the question of whether Lustig should still play as a backup to the first choice right back, i.e. Toljan.

The club faithful should fondly remember him for his overall contribution at Parkhead instead of these last few months where he has been underwhelming. With the season coming to an end, we might be seeing the last of Lustig in Celtic colours after Swedish heavyweight Malmo joined the race to sign him.

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