Sunday, February 5, 2023

Celtic Joins Race For This Dutch International Midfielder: Lennon Should Get Deal Done ASAP

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Despite Rangers’ resurgence under Steven Gerrard, Celtic have maintained their domestic dominance having conquered a historic treble ‘treble’ defeating Hearts in the Scottish Cup final. The sudden exit of Brendan Rodgers did not derail their campaign as ex-boss Neil Lennon, appointed in an interim role, carried the momentum forward with the utmost professionalism.

Lennon, meanwhile, has now been offered the job permanently as confirmed by BBC Sport. Although he is yet to pen a new deal, the vibes in the camp suggest the likeliness of an announcement pretty soon. Celtic, however, are expecting an overhaul following a mass exodus and have already been linked with an array of new names in these early days of the summer window.

According to De Telegraaf (as quoted by the Daily Record), the Hoops are plotting a swoop for the Netherlands international Adam Maher who is available on a free transfer. The 25-year-old AZ Alkmaar midfielder has decided not to renew his contract beyond the ongoing campaign and is open for a fresh challenge elsewhere having spent the majority of his career so far in Eredivisie.

Maher started his career at AZ before joining PSV Eindhoven back in the summer of 2013. There he witnessed successive league triumphs (2014-15, 2015-16) but lost his starting role of late which led to a transfer to FC Twente. He then returned to AFAS last summer but is now moving out once again after featuring  29 times in all competitions.

The Dutchman prefers to operate as a deep-lying playmaker. Nevertheless, he has featured mostly down the left-hand side of AZ’s midfield three. He is also capable of occupying a box-to-box role and has been hailed for his passing, crossing and distribution skills. His positioning, tackling and intercepting attributes help marshal the backline under pressure and the player, though a bit inconsistent at times, would be an asset to any side for his work rate and all-round ability.

Scott Brown will be 34 next month whereas Olivier Ntcham has been a shadow of his earlier self in the middle of the park. Nir Bitton is only decent as a squad option whereas the likes of Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie are more suited in an attacking midfield role. Callum McGregor, however, has been the one who offers versatility and the signing of Maher would add more flexibility centrally fending off the current crisis.

Blackburn Rovers, Queens Park Rangers, Brescia, Fenerbahce and Vitesse Arnhem are also keeping close tabs on the player’s status, and the Hoops must step up the chase to strike a deal ahead of the other suitors.

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