Celtic Need To Strengthen Their Defence!

I seem to say this during every transfer window but once again Celtic and Brendan Rodgers need to strengthen their defensive options.

The Scottish Premiership champions have already begun their season, comfortably beating Armenian side Alashkert 6-0 over two legs in the Champions League qualifying first round.

While it’s pretty ridiculous that Celtic (who have reached the group stages of UEFA’s elite club competition in the last two seasons) have to go through four rounds of qualifying, Rodgers and his recruitment team knew that was the case before the last campaign finished.

Yes, they’ve done well bringing Odsonne Edouard to the club in a permanent basis and they’ve also been looking at signing accomplished Hibs and Scotland midfielder John McGinn, but in truth it’s at the back that the Glasgow giants look threadbare once again.

Going into their European tie against Rosenborg this week, the Hoops will be assessing various top team defenders and wondering if they’ll be ready.

Both Dedryck Boyata is still on holiday after helping Belgium to a third placed finish at the World Cup, so he’s definitely out. Jozo Simunovic stupidly got himself red carded in the last game, so he’s suspended.  January signing Marvin Compper is once again injured, the German has only played in one solitary competitive game since he arrived from RB Leipzig. Nir Bitton, naturally a defensive midfielder, can fill in at the back but he too is currently out injured at the moment.

Mikel Lustig has only just returned to training after his World Cup exertions this week, Rodgers has already warned this game could be coming to early for the Swede:

“With Mika, it’s a possibility but we have to respect he’s been at the World Cup and played a long season, when he comes back he won’t be fit and it’ll take a couple of weeks to get up to speed.”

That leaves the Parkhead club with Kieran Tierney, Cristian Gamboa, Kristoffer Ajer, Jack Hendry and Anthony Ralston who can play in the defensive roles in the first outing against the Norwegian champs.

Celtic continually do this, they try and wait as long as possible before making moves in the transfer window. They wait until the know that they’re in the Champions League group stages. The only reason the Edouard deal was different was because the initial loan deal had a timeframe clause inserted into it, giving Celtic a limited time to push through the move at an already agreed price.

Now I wouldn’t mind as much, if the likes of Simunovic, Compper and Boyata were fully fit for the most of their Celtic careers to date. Then you’d say, well we can wait till they comeback and everything will be fine. But these players have all had major injury issues since moving to Scotland.

Plus both Boyata and Jozo have been linked with moves away this summer, the Belgian international only has one year left on his deal. You have to think he’ll be sold if he refuses to sign a new deal.

If the Hoops get past Rosenborg, then it will be a tricky tie against Greek side AEK Athens that will await them next and if they win that then they’ll still have another decent club waiting in the wings before the illustrious group stage arrives.

You’ve got to give your team the best possible opportunity of qualifying and sometimes that means speculating to accumulate the dream.

For me, it’s time Celtic stopped waiting and were more productive in their transfer business. They need at least one more experienced fit central defender and they should already have him at the club!


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