If a report from the Israeli outfit Sport5 is believed to be true, Celtic star Nir Bitton might return home amid interest from Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv. It’s been nine long years at Parkhead, but his cryptic social media post hints at a potential summer exit.
The 30-year-old Israel international has been a loyal servant since joining the Celts from his boyhood club Ashdod back in the summer of 2013. Predominantly a defensive midfielder, Bitton exhibited his flexibility by slotting in as a centre-back during the crisis time and his sheer commitment earned him contract extensions irrespective of certain on-field limitations.
Despite falling down the pecking order, the veteran Hoops ace has appeared 37 times so far this season across competitions. He still has a year left in his Celtic contract, but the Instagram post captioned “It’s been a hell of a journey” has fuelled speculations for obvious reasons (as cited by the Football Scotland).
Meanwhile, Bitton has won 8 Premiership, 6 League Cup and 4 Scottish Cup silverware during his Celtic realm. He has scored 15 goals and laid on 16 more in 270 Bhoys appearances and this illustrious spell deserves more plaudits given how he handled criticism under different managers for almost a decade.
The Celts were in a complete catastrophe when Ange Postecoglou got appointed as Neil Lennon’s successor. The likes of Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie left the camp to experience the English game, however, the smart and effective transfer business helped them restore stability and rebuild depth across the field.
Why Celtic Should Sanction The Transfer
Ajer’s exit, as well as Christopher Jullien’s injury, saw Bitton featuring as the centre-half alongside Stephen Welsh in their Champions League qualifier against Midtjylland. But a couple of yellow cards in quick succession resulted in a marching order before the half-time whistle. He rarely featured in deep defence ever since as the arrival of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt boosted the Hoops with a resilient central defensive pairing.
Although he featured in the middle of the park ahead of struggling James McCarthy and Ismaila Soro early into the campaign, their winter signings Reo Hatate and Matt O’Riley restricted his minutes since January. David Turnbull is back in action recovering from a long injury layoff and Bitton, therefore, must explore alternatives to attain regular gametime elsewhere. Celtic, too, should prefer a monetary profit over losing him for nothing a year later and it remains to be seen how things shape up for all concerned parties within the next couple of months.