Saturday, August 20, 2022

Celtic Set To Reignite Interest In This English Fullback: Why The Hoops Must Rope Him In

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Pratyay Maitra
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If a report from the Daily Record is believed to be true, Celtic are set to reignite their interest in Sheffield United fullback George Baldock. Although the Englishman has penned a long-term deal last year, the new Bramall Lane boss Slaviša Jokanović must make the call whether to retain his services for the promotion push.

Baldock has been a Hoops target for a while, but the profile of Premier League football cooled the talks a couple of years ago. It was a stellar 2019-20 campaign for the Yorkshire side before suffering a ‘second season syndrome’.  They finished rock bottom in the league standings, and therefore, might struggle to keep hold of an array of key names amid interest from top-flight outfits.

The appointment of Ange Postecoglou as the new Parkhead chief led to a frenzy of rage among the supporters, particularly after missing out on Eddie Howe despite prolonged negotiations ever since Neil Lennon stepped down earlier this year. The gaffer, however, is settling down gradually in new surroundings and regrouping the depleted side ahead of next month’s crucial Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland.

The ex-Socceroos manager would allow the outcasts and academy graduates to shine during pre-season, but, at the same time, has also highlighted the urgent requirement of reinforcements in his first press conference since taking charge of the Glasgow giants.

“We’re hoping we can make some announcements very, very soon. From our point of view, there is some urgency around a couple of positions particularly with this match coming up in four weeks’ time.”

Revealed Postecoglou who is keen on adding a new right-back in the ranks.

Celtic target George Baldock in action against Everton
Liverpool, England, 16th May 2021. George Baldock of Sheffield Utd takes on Michael Keane of Everton during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture credit should read: Andrew Yates / Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-1053-0073

The Bhoys did not stand in the way of Jeremie Frimpong as the youngster completed a staggering £11.5m winter move to Bayer Leverkusen. Jonjoe Kenny had a bright start but faded away of late in spite of securing a regular role on loan from Everton. It was an underwhelming spell overall, and the 24-year-old has now returned to Goodison Park to try his luck once more. Hatem Abd Elhamed returned to his homeland too after failing to attune to the demands of the Scottish game.

Why Celtic Must Secure The Services Of Baldock

Meanwhile, Anthony Ralston remains the only recognized right fullback option. Celtic opted to trigger the one-year extension clause in his contract, but the 22-year-old has not shown enough traits to grab the starting spot. They need experience in the defensive third and Baldock’s upsurge under Chris Wilder has drawn the attention of the former champions.

The 28-year-old progressed through the youth ranks of MK Dons before joining the Blades in 2017. He went on to feature 139 times across competitions that include 70 Premier League appearances over two campaigns. Wilder was highly reliant on his fullbacks (or wingbacks) as they kept on making overlapping runs and whipping in crosses from the flanks. Baldock and Enda Stevens earned cult status in the English top tier and the Hoops must exhibit enormous intent to strike a deal within the transfer window.

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