According to the reports from the Scottish Sun, Championship sides like Stoke City and Swansea are interested in making a move for Jonny Hayes. The versatile winger is in the final year of his contract at Parkhead, and he can sign a pre-contract deal with Championship clubs in January. This could see him move down south in the summer of 2020 on a free transfer.
Lennon praises Hayes for his recent performances
Neil Lennon heaped praise on the utility player recently after their win against Motherwell just before the international break. The manager had said, “I am delighted with him. He is popular among the players; he has shown a real reliability and quality. He knows his role in the squad. His fitness levels and pace is fantastic; his enthusiasm for the game and his game intelligence is improving all the time.”
The 32-year-old has often been on the fringes of the squad, and there have been plenty of occasions when he hasn’t even managed to break into the matchday squad. However, the Ireland international has never moaned or complained about his spot and has always given his all when called into action.
Should Celtic give him a new deal?
The manager clearly seems to be happy with what he is providing on the pitch at the moment. However, we think that the Hoops shouldn’t have any qualms in letting Hayes leave next summer.
The versatile winger has often played as a left wing-back or fullback in the last few seasons, and the Hoops strengthened in that position this season by bringing in Greg Taylor and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.
Hayes has indeed shown good form of late as he did quite well even in the Europa League game against Lazio in Rome. The wingback was seen as one of the weaknesses in the lineup, but Hayes held his own defensively and helped the team in attack with his lung-bursting runs. His significant moment of the season though arrived earlier when he scored a late goal against Rangers by coming off the bench to secure the full three points for his side.
His energy, work-rate, versatility and commitment are what makes him an ideal squad player. It will be understandable if Lennon hands Hayes a one or two-year extension, but he is already 32. The Hoops are well covered in the fullback position for now. Hence, we believe that Hayes shouldn’t be given a new contract even though he has done quite well this season.