Monday, June 27, 2022

AS Roma Keen On Acquiring Celtic’s Defensive Outcast: Right Time For Lennon To Cash In?

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Nikhil Vinodh
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According to a recent report by Italian source Tutto Mercato Web, Serie A giants AS Roma are said to be among a duo of clubs interested in acquiring the services of Celtic full-back Boli Bolingoli this summer.

The report suggests that the Rome-based club are keen on bringing the Belgian in, as they understandably look for a replacement to veteran speedster Aleksandar Kolarov. The former Manchester City man’s future has been up in the air for a while now, and it would come as a surprise to see the Belgian in a Roma shirt again next season.

Although the report has clarified that Roma are interested in signing Celtic outcast Boli Bolingoli, they will almost certainly not have a free run at the full-back’s services. The Belgian has reportedly been on the radar of Turkish side Baseksehir as well, which means that Roma will have to put in the effort to secure his signature. The defender could be quite tempted by the idea of moving to Italy too, as his two cousins, Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan, and Jordan Lukaku of Lazio, both ply their trades in the Italian top-flight as well.

What Is Bolingoli’s Situation At Celtic Right Now?

The Belgian full-back joined the Parkhead club prior to the start of the 19/20 Premiership campaign, and it must be conceded that the initial signs regarding his quality on the pitch were positive. Despite looking like a good attack-minded full-back, Bolingoli was unable to nail down a regular place in the side and was often forced to play second fiddle to the younger Greg Taylor. While Taylor brought a certain degree of balance in defence, Bolingoli seemed to offer a much more dynamic and offensive impact on the squad.

Roma Are Interested In Signing Celtic Outcast Boli Bolingoli - Bolingoli vying for the ball
Lyon’s French forward Moussa Dembele (R) vies for the ball with Celtic FC’s Belgian defender Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (L) during a Lyon-hosted friendly tournament football match between Olympique Lyonnais and Glasgow Celtic FC on July 18, 2020, at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite being a part of the side at the start of the current season as well, one incident that took place a few weeks ago has seemingly put his Celtic career under fire. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll on football as a sport, but Bolingoli’s actions were simply inexcusable. Not only did he violate quarantine regulations, but he went on to make an illicit trip to Spain, without informing the club. His ignorance led to two of the Celts’ matches being postponed, with the player himself being handed a suspension as well. Given how things went down, it would be astonishing if the Belgian ever played a game for the Parkhead club again.

What Is Celtic’s Current Squad Situation?

Neil Lennon’s squad has been put under a lot of scrutiny over recent weeks, and with good reason. Despite the signings of Albian Ajeti and Shane Duffy, there are still several positions on the pitch that Lennon should be concerned about. Apart from the role of centre-forward, there is a lack of quality alternatives in each of the attacking positions. In midfield too, a single injury to one of Scott Brown or Callum McGregor could seriously hurt Lennon’s plans for the season. The defensive situation isn’t too much better, as even with Duffy in the roster, they still only have three identified defenders to choose from.

Roma Are Interested In Signing Celtic Outcast Boli Bolingoli: Should Lennon Cash In?

The Belgian’s actions can only be classed as unacceptable, and it’s completely understandable that Neil Lennon wants nothing to do with him anymore. Not only did he risk his own health by making the trip, but he also put the entire Celtic squad in a vulnerable position. Fortunately for them, the team didn’t get compromised. The Celts have since returned to regular action and even played out a European fixture in between. Selling Bolingoli could put Lennon’s side in a sensitive position in terms of depth, but that should be the least of their concerns. The Belgian was willing to put everyone around him at risk for no good reason, and a player like that shouldn’t be allowed to be associated with a historic club like Celtic.

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