In a recent Diary, one of the posters, Monti, hinted that 10 days had passed and not a proverbial signing had been made. I jokingly highlighted that he was incorrect and that Celtic have already made 3 signings no less and categorised them in football terms as
- An ‘Oldie’ – 32 year old defender Martin Compper, who despite a decent pedigree involving German and an Italian club, found himself side-lined with a young teenage pairing staking their claims for centre back positions at Leipzig
- A ‘Newbie’ – 21 year old Lewis Morgan – a winger from lower leagues signed and immediately loaned back to St Mirren for their promotion push.
- A ‘Novice’ – 18 years Aussie Leo Mazis , a forward signed from Belconnen in Oz, where a certain Tom Rogic once plied his trade.
So that’s 3 in and the most important at this vital stage will of course be Compper who claims he is used to a passing game and after recent bombscares from Jozo and Dedryk, what Celtic fan would complain about a guy who can actually pass a ball 10 feet without giving us a heart attack?.
Will Compper go straight in and possibly team up to support with young Ajer,. The balance of old and young could work and despite our recent choice pairing having a great run, the Boyata Confidence factor isn’t too high with the fans and its likely Jozo will join Erik the Viking in the Parkhead Forge Taxi rank before February is upon us.
Could we be looking at an additional defender too perhaps..double down on a position that despite good results, has given us all a little worry alongside giving recent opposition renewed confidence to attack. We aren’t exactly spoiled for defenders so this could very well be in Brendans mind but then we must ask – A true quality centre half?..is one available in this window that is good enough to go straight in and isnt keeping an eye on a World cup place?
Is Stephen Caulker still available btw?
Elsewhere at the back, we have issues either side – how nice would it be to see us signing a back up left back, (Johnny Hayes was never the answer to that question regardless of his injury)? It would be a delight to give Kieran Tierney a rest, and also a healthy challenge, but the calamity we have with our back up right back Costa Rican Gamboa says it all when it comes to building a quality squad.
Mikel Lustig continues to play almost every second and with a World Cup looming, it would be good if young Anthony Ralston can get more time on the pitch and if not then a decent back up duly purchased and played during the next few months to save more groans about our lovable ‘Tache when under attack.
As for behind the defence, whilst Gordon makes plenty of ball at feet howlers and still impersonates a Hearts keeper with his slowness on the counter for me, he easily secures his place with those close range shot-stops on a regular basis. Brendan may dream of the perfect sweeper keeper but that wont be this season, I would like to see Dora the Explorer get another chance but cant see it happening and his Łukasz Załuska Tribute act looks good to continue.
In the middle, well its Broony and who else, depending on the weather it seems. Armstrong is back in the same place we were last time when he signed a short term extension. Will he stay?, will he go to Palace or elsewhere. We should soon know but if any midfield players exit, then other quality signings could be needed to fill in the gaps as Benyu (Oldham bound) and Kouassi wont make it just yet. Either way, the signing of Lewis Morgan wont be a factor.
The signing of Morgan is seen as good business buts its far to early to say whether he will be an Armstrong or a Mackay Stevens. At present I’m thinking he will be more likely another Ryan Christie. Lauded and laden with ability but then duly loaned out. It will likely be another year before we know the worth of Lewis Morgan and even then we may have to settle for him back at a promoted St Mirren on loan and getting more experience before he is considered a first team squad member.
The return from Dubai should see at least a few of the Celtic midfield ( and the defence and possibly also the forward line!) move on and a change in first team personnel would help freshen things up at the very least for a side that seemed to have plateaued after that great run.
Callum MacGregor is struggling to influence games of late and its surely time for Olivier NtCham to grab that first team place by the scruff of the snooded neck. Out wide we have James Forrest who while more direct this season knows he is still under review and Scott Sinclair who is a shadow of last season but has had family issues to deal with which are hopefully in the past and all can kick on after recent winter break recharge. Realistically, A challenge to Sinclair’s place would be good to help spur him back on, but I cant see that happening either this window bar a sudden change of formation from the manager.
Is big S’Appening Biton still on that Turkish Airlines flight btw?
Squad wise we have Johnny Hayes out for the season but we still have Paddy and Rogic to come back up front and I think Edouard deserves game time if a striker, most likely Dembele, goes. The talk of Griff eyeing an exit is an interesting one and would really put pressure on Brendan and the Board to deliver quality replacements should our principal pair be allowed to depart Paradise this month.
The time to strengthen has never presented itself so readily. Brendan needs to build his own team, The Profits, The CL and subsequent Europa League monies and of course the windfall VVD funds are there awaiting withdrawal. It is clear there are areas to strengthen and personnel to be shipped out as well as in. Its interesting times indeed and all eyes on Peter and his chequebook no doubt.
We have a few weeks left and in an ideal world, we will soon be watching Brendan unveiling a class act centre half and a wonderful Number 10 playmaker, a player who can immediately take the game to opponents, a trait which sadly Sinclair doesn’t seem to have in his locker.
Sadly that’s just dreams I am afraid. Number 10 style players are like gold dust, in fact more than gold dust.See Coutinho to Barcelona and it might be the case we are better just giving Mikey Johnstone some more game time and experience for the rest of this season at least.
My gut feeling?
I hope we sign some peaches but the dark side inside of me fears I can see a few more wee “For the future really” players coming in with standard Peter promises of “But we are well ahead with our summer plans and all that” rhetoric.
Lets hope I’m so very wrong.