Celtic Still Have Defensive Worries After Transfer Inactivity

“It has been said so many times before but the objective, if possible, is always to come out of the window stronger than we went in and I am very happy as we have definitely done that.”

That’s the opinion from Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers when he discussed the club’s summer transfer window.

I know some passionate Hoops supporters will argue ferociously with me but I am not in full agreement with Rodgers assessment.

Yes in the midfield and forward areas, Celtic do indeed look stronger and have added more creative talent that could change tight games. The Scottish Premiership champions still have the strongest squad and will no doubt claim yet another domestic title come May.

The issue I’ve got is that defensively Celtic actually look a tad weaker if anything.

If the three key central defenders Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko could stay fully fit for a year then there wouldn’t be much of a problem but all three have always had problems with injuries.

Plus Kolo Toure has seemingly left the club and is now coaching with the Ivory Coast, although he was seen at Celtic’s training complex last week.

The three main centre-backs have already missed key fixtures this season. That has mean that youngster Kristoffer Ajer and midfielder Nir Bitton have had to fill in at the back.

While that isn’t a perfect solution I think it will work in the Scottish top flight. You could also move either Mikael Lustig or Kieran Tierney in there if you had to.

The concerns rise when you think of the Champions League. Europe’s elite competition isn’t a place where you can paper over the cracks and get away with it!

Celtic are in the same group as Anderlecht, PSG and Bayern Munich.

The Ligue 1 and Bundesliga giants would absolutely rip a weakened defence apart.

PSG’s Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will be hard to contain for Celtic’s strongest defence but against Bitton and Ajer? It could end in an annihilation.

Would you really want a makeshift defence up against the likes of Thomas Muller, Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski? I seriously doubt it.

The games against Belgian champs Anderlecht could be key if Celtic have ambitions to still be in Europe beyond Christmas. Yet they didn’t strengthen the defensive area to give themselves the best possible chance.

Rodgers has come out saying quality in the transfer market is the main thing, not quantity. While true can we really think that only South African centre-back Rivaldo Coetzee was the only viable option avaibale in the last week of the window?

Concerns regarding Coetzee’s fitness saw Celtic pull the plug on the possible deal (a bit ironic).

Since Celtic qualified for the mega-rich Champions League group stages, they only added loan signings Patrick Roberts and Odsonne Edouard. Now both are strong signings but surely money could have been released to purchase another centre-half?

I don’t blame Rodgers and I don’t have any an issue with his statements regarding the club’s transfer window dealings. Of course he’ll back his board and praise his new recruits but I cannot believe that he is happy with his strength of depth he has in defence.

The away performance against FC Astana was the wake up call that showed just how vulnerable Celtic are in Europe with a weakened backline. At times they looked like they were playing with rookies and midfielders playing at the heart of defence, which essentially is exactly what was happening.

So either the Celtic board refused to push the boat out on a new central defender or the scouting team failed to identify enough suitable candidates.

Yes the transfer window was a bit mad and prices did go up for defenders but if you have ambitions to do well in Europe then you have to speculate to accumulate, especially in areas that clearly needed to be strengthened.

I hope that Celtic don’t struggle in Europe and don’t lose out due to defensive inexperience or defensive mistakes!

It is a distinct possibility if they can’t get key players back to full fitness.

2 Responses to “Celtic Still Have Defensive Worries After Transfer Inactivity”

  1. My God I know we’re not perfect defensively but neither were the great Lisbon Lions perfect. I would say we have the best team since then considering so where’s the panic.

  2. I think the Martin O’Neill side were also better than this one.

    Look I’m not trying to be a downer and I am certainly no Gordon Parks, I just think it was very odd not to bring in another defender. Maybe they can bring Kolo back.

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