If a report from the Scottish Sun is believed to be true, Celtic have identified Nathan Byrne as one of their potential summer targets. They do not have any recognized right fullback other than academy graduate Anthony Ralston, and therefore, are assessing all the options before making a decision.
Rennes duo Sacha Boey and Brandon Soppy are also on the Hoops’ radar, however, the experience of Byrne might be key considering his years of reputation in the English League. The 29-year-old Englishman has entered the final year of his Derby contract amid the takeover conundrum, debts and financial irregularities. The Rams are struggling to pay their players and might even accept a minuscule fee for their first-team star.
Despite spending years at Tottenham during his teenage days, Byrne failed to secure a senior status and spent his time out on loan in the English third tier. A brief yet successful loan spell with Swindon Town earned him a permanent switch on a Bosman transfer. His impressive run of form grabbed the attention of Wolverhampton Wanderers, but a move to the West Midlands did not work out with sporadic first-team appearances under Walter Zenga. He was then roped in by Wigan a year later and spent four years in Greater Manchester (including a six-month Charlton loan) prior to plying his trade at Pride Park last September.
Why Celtic Should Go For Byrne
Byrne went on to feature 42 times for the Derbyshire side and delivered a stable show even though the Rams survived a relegation scare on the final gameweek. He laid on four assists in the league and looked purposeful with his overlapping runs, dribbles, crosses as well as defensive duties. Although his tackles were rusty which led to 10 bookings, the majority of them were tactical enough to prevent the opponents from staging counter-attacking threats.
The Hoops decided not to tie down Jonjoe Kenny on permanent terms following an underwhelming loan spell from Everton. The 24-year-old was snapped up as Jeremie Frimpong’s replacement soon after the latter left for Bayer Leverkusen in a mega-money deal. Hatem Abd Elhamed could not settle in either and the Glasgow giants are now exploring the transfer market to restore balance in the defensive third.
Ralston, meanwhile, has been impressive so far in the ongoing pre-season but should keep up the good work to stake a claim in Ange Postecoglou’s plan for the upcoming term. The addition of the Derby star would form a perfect blend of youth and experience if a deal is struck in the coming days.