Celtic are still in search for Mikael Lustig’s long term replacement, and the Hoops have now officially missed out on Tommy Smith. The Scottish champions were linked with him heavily in the past few weeks. The former Huddersfield player has now joined Stoke City for a fee in the region of £4m (The Examiner).
The season is already underway, and we saw Kristoffer Ajer play as a right-back in the first leg of the Champions League qualifiers. There is no doubt that the club needs to find a top right back sooner rather than later.
Smith is an experienced player who managed to hold his own even in the Premier League. For the price he went for, it shows that he was very much in Celtic’s range. The English fullback had entered the final year of his contract with the Terriers, and the move was always on the cards. The 27-year-old was even the captain of the Huddersfield side on occasions, and he would have been a reliable addition at the back.
With the Bhoys losing as many as three right-backs in this window, one expected them to sign atleast one right back by now. Anthony Ralston is the only outright right back at the club currently, but he is still learning his trade at the top level.
Why would Tommy Smith have been a good signing?
Mikael Lustig did a decent job while going forward but he was often caught out defensively against tough opposition in the last few years. The Swedish international struggled in Europe and Ryan Kent troubled him when Celtic played against Rangers. Smith is a defensively reliable fullback, and that would have helped Celtic in Europe. The Englishman might not have been an eye-catching signing especially while going forward but he would have still put in a decent shift on the attacking front.
Moreover, the fullback played in the English top-flight in the last two seasons and played a significant role in getting Huddersfield from the Championship to the Premier League. Therefore the player knows how to play in pressure situations. Given his age, he would have been a perfect mix of youth and experience.
How much Celtic wanted to pay?
What’s more disappointing is that Celtic got beaten by Stoke City who finished 16th in the Championship last season. Some reports mentioned that the Hoops wanted to pay somewhere in the region of £3m for him. It would be a disappointing piece of business if the actual reason for the Hoops losing out on him were because they didn’t pay £1m more to get Smith.
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