Celtic didn’t need to buy in bulk last month, they have the strongest squad in Scotland and are still on course to secure their first domestic treble in sixteen years.
So obviously Brendan Rodgers didn’t want to tinker too much with his successful side and only brought in teenage midfielder Eboue Kouassi from FC Krasnodar for a £2.8m fee.
But don’t be fooled, the Scottish Premiership champs will already have their eye on summer recruits. As anyone who has kept a keen eye on Scottish football will tell you, the dominating club in the country always tries to nick the best players from the competition. Rangers and Celtic have done it for years!
So with that in mind I thought I’d look at four players in the Scottish Premiership that might take Brendan’s fancy this summer:
JOE LEWIS (ABERDEEN)
I’m not convinced that Chelsea won’t follow up on their interest in Celtic’s current number one Craig Gordon in the summer.
There’s no doubt that the Scottish international was at least tempted to hear what the English Premier League leaders had to say. I’d imagine that Antonio Conte will sell Asmir Begovic in the summer, so he’ll still be looking for a capable number two.
So if Gordon pushes for a move or if Rodgers decides to cash in on the veteran, then the Hoops will need a new goalkeeper in their ranks.
Even if they don’t sell their number one, I doubt Rodgers would stand in the way of either Logan Bailly or Dorus de Vries if they wished to leave the Glasgow club. Leaving the Hoops in need of a new keeper.
That could see Celtic looking at Aberdeen goalie Joe Lewis.
The Dons are currently lying in second place and they’ve also got the second best defensive record in Scotland’s top flight. Lewis has been a big part of that success. In his last five outings, Joe has kept four cleansheets and conceded just one (against Celtic).
Joe Lewis was once viewed as the next big thing in England, playing for all the youth sides including the English under-21s and he even received a call-up to the senior side in 2008.
He has been an ever present for Aberdeen so far this term. The Aberdeen star is a fine shot-stopper and at 6ft 5in he possess an ideal stature for a goalkeeper.
Brendan Rodgers might view Lewis as an ideal recruit who can either step in and replace Craig Gordon or compete with Gordon for the number one jersey.
JAMIE WALKER (HEARTS)
It’s funny how many players in Scotland truly announce themselves with a top performance against one of the Old Firm. Jamie Walker certainly cemented his name as one of Hearts better stars with his recent brace against Rangers.
But the twenty-three year old had been in fine form before that fixture, he has bagged eleven league goals and quite a few assists so far this term (including a goal against Celtic).
Walker is a creative talent, who also possesses a fiery character. These are traits that Rodgers and the Celtic faithful appreciate.
The Hearts man can play on the wing or as an attacking midfielder. His keen eye for goal is another quality that will attract various scouts.
New Hearts boss Ian Cathro has been singing the wideman’s praises lately:
“He feels the game, he understands it. He just knows. He feels when somebody is coming in or this space opens or closes. He just feels football.”
When asked about how Walker compares to the likes of Barrie McKay and James Forrest, Jambos manager Cathro stated:
“Jamie is the only one I want out of them. Fortunately he’s here. I wouldn’t swap him for any of them.”
High praise indeed and that won’t have gone unnoticed at Celtic Park and with various scouts from down south.
But will Brendan believe that Jamie Walker can edge Scott Sinclair, James Forrest or Stuart Armstrong out of the team?
That will be the big question.
LIAM LINDSAY (PARTICK THISTLE)
At twenty-one, Liam Lindsay could represent a player with promise and not necessarily an automatic starter straight away. But Celtic have often looked at their weakest in defence this year!
His age won’t count against him in Rodgers eyes, the Celtic boss would no doubt like to mould a young defender to play with his footballing philosophies. Patrick Thistle boss Alan Archibald has gone on record to say that Lindsay ‘always wants to learn‘ and that will be news to Celtic gaffer’s ears!
The central defender has enjoyed a successful season so far with the Jags. His form has seen him linked heavily with a move to Leeds United in the last transfer window but a move never materialised.
Lindsay has scored five times this season, including a nice looping header against Celtic in December. The centre-back has also only picked up three yellow cards in twenty-seven appearances.
One thing that may tempt Rodgers into signing him this summer has been Liam’s performances in a back three. That could be a formation that Celtic could change to in Europe next term, as it could make them stronger defensively and maybe give Scott Sinclair more freedom in a role behind the lone striker.
A very good aerial threat in both boxes, Lindsay still has a lot to learn and it would be advantageous if he could fill-out a bit but he could very well be on Brendan’s radar if he ships out a few centre-backs in the summer.
LOUIS MOULT (MOTHERWELL)
Motherwell were no doubt extremely pleased that they managed to keep hold of striker Louis Moult for the remainder of this campaign. I’m actually quite surprised no one made a bid for the twenty-four year old last month.
The former Stoke City man has banged in thirty-one goals in sixty-four appearances for the ‘Steelmen’ in his one and a half seasons at the club. Motherwell did well spotting him in England’s lower leagues.
After missing the start of the season due to injury, Moult returned to the starting line-up and has grabbed ten league goals in nineteen games. As well as grabbing four against Well’s local rivals Hamilton Accies, Louis also claimed a brace against Celtic at the start of December.
His movement on the field can be exceptional and it’s vital in him getting away from his marker and getting on the scoresheet. His ability to find space in the six-yard box is often outstanding and what you want from your striker.
Confident enough to take on the penalty duties, he’s also decent with his head and can play as part of a twosome up-front. Always keen to take his chances early (mainly first time), giving opposing keepers little time to set themselves.
It will all depend on whether Celtic need a striker or two this summer.
Obviously Moussa Dembele is being linked with a big move away but I’m not convinced he’ll leave in 2017. I’d think the summer of 2018 will be a more likely time for his departure.
I’d imagine that Nadir Ciftci will be offloaded but what will happen with Leigh Griffiths?
The Scotland striker was recently dropped by Rodgers and the Hoops boss warned the forward that he needs to buck up his ideas:
“There is no coincidence that lots of the other players in terms of fitness and tactical ideas are improving and if Leigh can do that then he’ll be a consistent goalscorer.”
“That’s from the lifestyle of a footballer. You have to live it right. Unfortunately for him, he’s in this cycle of breaking down. It’s not just about the games. You have to train well, work well.”
I’d take that as a final warning for Griffths.
So if Celtic are looking to bring in some more striking reinforcements then why not Louis Moult? He’s a forward in-form and capable of scoring bags loads of goals in the Premiership.
Posted on February 6th, 2017 by scott
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