Sunday, February 5, 2023

Celtic Defender Drawing Interest From The Portuguese Giants: Why Postecoglou Must Take The Call

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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 have done their business early with the signings of defensive pair Alistair Campbell and Yuki Kobayashi. But they are also expecting a few departures including young academy prodigy Stephen Welsh amid interest from the Portuguese heavyweights Porto, the Daily Record understands.

Welsh emerged through the Celts’ esteemed setup before joining Greenock Morton on loan for first-team football. An impressive spell in the Scottish Championship earned him a sporadic status under the then Hoops chief Neil Lennon. However, his gametime has reduced since Ange Postecoglou’s appointment as the Parkhead chief. Despite 52 senior appearances already over the past three years, the 22-year-old Scotsman is now the fourth-choice centre-half behind Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Moritz Jenz.

Why Celtic Should Entertain Bids For The Youngster

He was supposed to feature more frequently following Christopher Jullien’s summer exit. But the gaffer not only decided to bring in Jenz to restore parity but also roped in Kobayashi earlier this month to bolster the Bhoys in the heart of the backline. The Japanese youth international is tipped to make significant strides after a promising stint with Vissel Kobe and Welsh.

Stephen Welsh

Meanwhile, Celtic are already eliminated from Europe after finishing rock bottom in their Champions League group. They only have the domestic fixtures to focus on and the less number of games would further jeopardize his minutes in the defensive third.

Welsh made his presence known with a goal in the opening gameweek against Aberdeen. He helped them retain a cleansheet in the 2-0 triumph, yet the manager opted for other options who also performed splendidly as ball-playing centre-backs. It has been a selection dilemma for the Aussie boss who must make the call now once the window reopens in a few days’ time.

The youngster penned a new contract last year to extend his stay until the closure of the 2024-2025 campaign. He has represented Scotland at various youth levels and his physical, as well as aerial dominance, brought the attention of Toulouse and Udinese. Those approaches were not entertained by the Glasgow giants back in the summer, but the situation is not the same this time around with ample players available.

While the Hoops are likely to entertain a loan for the remainder of the season rather than a permanent transfer, Welsh must grab this opportunity to revive his Celtic career. A promising spell in Portugal could even shoot up his valuation next summer.

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