Saturday, January 29, 2022

Celtic Knock Back Offer From Udinese For This Promising Centre-back: Right Call From The Hoops?

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Celtic are having yet another busy window with an array of new arrivals. Although they are open to offloading a few names to trim down the squad size, an approach from Udinese for Stephen Welsh has been knocked back by Ange Postecoglou as well as the Parkhead chiefs (Sky Sports Understands).

The Hoops underwent a squad overhaul last summer and roped in many new faces to replace their renowned figures. Despite early jitters, the Celts have shown a massive upsurge under the Aussie boss as they went on to conquer the League Cup title defeating Hibernian.

Having said that, Celtic have to script a recovery post-winter break to catch up with Rangers in the Premiership race. The Gers have a six-point cushion at the top of the standings and therefore, remain favourites for successive league crowns. The Old Firm derbies will shape up the fortune and the Bhoys must knock down their bitter rivals to reclaim the silverware.

Welsh progressed through the youth ranks of Celtic but was sent out on a season-long loan to Greenock Morton back in the summer of 2019. However, the Hoops recalled the centre-half in the next window and promoted him to their senior setup as a sporadic option. Shane Duffy’s disastrous spell and Christopher Jullien’s severe knee injury earned him first-team football alongside Kristoffer Ajer and the young Scotsman was supposed to feature week in week out following the latter’s summer egress for Brentford.

Celtic youngster Stephen Welsh in action
Celtic’s Scottish defender Stephen Welsh celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the UEFA Europa League group G football match between Celtic and Real Betis at Celtic Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland on December 9, 2021. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Why Celtic Have Made The Correct Call

In spite of impressing last season in the heart of the backline, Postecoglou dropped Welsh in favour of new signings Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt as the preferred central defensive pairing. He turned a blind eye to all criticism when Celtic were leaking goals far too frequently and allowed the duo to build up an understanding with regular minutes. Their attacking style of play often results in conceding goals from counter-attacks, but the resilience and composure have developed in recent months leading to more stability in the defensive third.

While they are still vulnerable from set-piece situations, Carter-Vickers and Starfelt are expected to continue as the prime centre-backs unless there’s any major fitness concern in the forthcoming future. Jullien is working towards regaining match fitness after more than a year and therefore Welsh must work harder to stake a claim in the manager’s plan.

Udinese, meanwhile, wanted him on loan with an option to buy. The 21-year-old is rated highly by the Serie A side, but the contract extension last year suggests that he holds a long-term future at his boyhood club.

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