Before the current season started, many might not have had an issue if a player like Nir Bitton would have gone on to leave Celtic after his contract expired in the summer of 2020. However, the Israel international impressed early on in the season when Celtic were reeling with injuries.
Bitton played as a centre back and looked comfortable in defence even though he is a defensive midfielder by trade. His height, strength and physicality made him good in the air, and he was at ease, playing out of the back due to his passing abilities.
The 28-year-old joined Celtic in 2013, and he has played a crucial part in quite a few title runs. However, Bitton’s importance had diminished last season as he started in just three games in the Premiership as he missed a good chunk of the season due to injuries.
Bitton talks about his future
Bitton has even attracted interest from Premier League outfit Burnley. However, the versatile defender recently indicated that he would look to stay on at Parkhead. The 28-year-old said, ”It’s something you need to ask Peter Lawwell instead of me (Regarding his contract situation). But I love this club, and I want to stay. I am settled here; my kids live here so that we will see.”
Should Lennon hand him a new deal?
Bitton’s versatility to play in defence and as a midfielder will undoubtedly come in handy. The 28-year-old battled from a career-threatening cruciate injury last season, but he has shown his worth so far. Bitton played a crucial role in the first Old Firm derby of the season as he was impeccable at the back. Even in the League Cup final, he was thrown into action in the last 25 minutes with Celtic being a man down, and he held his own at the back.
Burnley are reportedly valuing him at £1m, so there is not much to gain in terms of transfer fee if Celtic decide to sell him. Hence, the club should give Bitton a new contract as he reinvented himself as a centre back this season. As mentioned, his height and on the ball abilities, make him an ideal candidate to start in defence.
He might not become a regular first-team player but to challenge and compete on all the fronts; every team needs a squad player who can fill in from time to time. With the player now also wanting to stay, the Bhoys should wrap his contract talks ideally before the January transfer window opens.
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