Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Celtic To Battle Rangers & Others For Manchester United Midfield Starlet: Why Lennon Must Win This Race

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According to a recent report by France Football, Premiership giants Celtic are said to be among a host of clubs currently interested in acquiring the signature of Manchester United’s midfield starlet Aliou Traore. The report suggests that the Glasgow club are keen on the French youth international’s services and that they’ve been monitoring his situation closely over the last many weeks. It has further been clarified that the Celts’ Old Firm rivals Rangers are also in for the talented midfielder’s acquisition this summer.

Although the report clarifies that Celtic are interested in Aliou Traore, competition from other parts of the continent could make this a difficult task for Neil Lennon’s side. The most significant interest has reportedly arrived from the Portuguese top-flight, where SL Benfica are claimed to be keen on bringing in the French midfield destroyer. It has further been suggested that there are suitors for the former PSG man popping up in the Ligue 1 too, but that the player prefers the idea of playing at Benfica.

What Is Celtic’s Situation In The Midfield Area?

The Celts have undoubtedly been the strongest team in the Premiership this season, and a lot of that has been down to the consistency that Neil Lennon has been able to field in the middle of the park. Scott Brown has been utilised as the holding midfielder responsible for linking up the defence with the attack. At the same time, the slightly more advanced roles were taken up by Olivier Ntcham and Callum McGregor. While the former offers a more box-to-box playing style, the latter is this Celtic team’s out-and-out playmaker.

Apart from this trio though, the Celts don’t possess too many top-quality options to choose from in the core of the team. Luca Connell and Ismaila Soro are still far too young to be depended on, while Nir Bitton hasn’t shown enough out on the pitch to warrant a regular place in the side.

Celtic Are Interested In Aliou Traore - Traore vying for the ball
COLERAINE, NORTHERN IRELAND – JULY 21: Aliou Traore of Manchester United and Wallace Duffy of Celtic during the u19 NI Super Cup gala match at Coleraine Showgrounds on July 21, 2018 in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

This means that if one of the trio mentioned above were to get injured, Lennon would be losing one major aspect of his team’s general play in midfield. The addition of a couple more options would undoubtedly work in the Glasgow club’s favour in the long run.

What Would Aliou Traore Add To This Celtic Side?

The youngster was formerly a member of the Paris Saint-Germain academy until the summer of 2017, at which point he made the switch to Manchester United. Resemblant to Old Trafford star Paul Pogba in his playing style, Traore offers a right balance of technical skill and physical prowess. Standing at just under 1.9m tall, the midfielder uses his long legs to dribble past players with ease, while he also has an excellent vision from the middle of the park. The 19-year-old is also renowned for making Pogba-esque lung-busting runs forward from his position in the core of the team.

Celtic Are Interested In Aliou Traore: Why Lennon Must Win This Race

Central midfield is one of the main areas that this Celtic team should look to strengthen on during the summer, as a lack of personnel could come back to haunt them next season. Considering everything that’s going to be on the line in the next Premiership campaign as well, this move slowly begins to look like a no-brainer.

Although it has been said that the player himself prefers a switch to Benfica, Lennon will do well to use the example of a player like Odsonne Edouard, who has enjoyed so much success at Parkhead, to try and lure the youngster to Glasgow next season.

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