According to the latest reports from the Express, Swedish defender Mikael Lustig is set to leave the club after his contract expires in May. The defender’s future has been up in the air for quite some time now, and if latest reports are to go by then the right back would depart from the club on a free transfer.
Swedish outfit AIK have already been in contact with him, but it was always thought that Celtic might offer him a new deal. Neil Lennon did provide an update saying that he is in talks over a new contract for the defender, but that seems to have come to a dead end.
Arguments for letting Lustig leave
The 32-year-old defender is way past his prime, and he has been found out on various occasions defensively this season. His performance in the Europa League games were abysmal, and it was clear that Lustig would need to be replaced. Moreover, keeping him for long isn’t an option given his age so many might feel that the Hoops are taking the right call by letting the defender leave after his contract expires.
But why Celtic should still keep him?
The upcoming summer transfer window could define who will dominate the Scottish football landscape for the next few years. The Bhoys also need to decide on who will take the top job at Parkhead. To go with that, Celtic have a massive task at hand as quite a few players are going to leave once their loan spell expires.
Some are in the final few months of their contract including Lustig, Cristian Gamboa and Jeremy Toljan. Therefore as things stand, Celtic can end up losing three right backs in the same transfer window and that would put more pressure on them in the transfer market to find at least two right backs.
We have already seen that replacing Lustig isn’t going to be easy as Toljan has struggled in the last few months. Therefore Celtic would be better off offering Lustig a short one or two year deal. They should definitely look to sign one young and robust right back who can be the first choice option for the next season and Lustig can fill in for him from time to time.
A mistake from Lennon?
We believe that Lennon is making a mistake here by letting the defender leave. It’s true that his performances have dropped, but the Swedish international still shows commitment and desire to play for the badge. As a backup option, he can be a decent bet for the club.