Aaron Mooy for Celtic could well be two players for the price of one

Is there really anyone out there with any doubts regarding Celtic signing Aaron Mooy? If there is, there is little to worry about and much more to delight in.

Okay let’s get the limited negatives out the way. He doesn’t have pace over distance, and probably lacks that burst of acceleration, but when you can protect the ball and carry it like Mooy can then much of those concerns can easily be negated. Particularly when, as Mooy can, he sees a passing option on the field of play quicker than any bod sitting in the Gods at Celtic Park. And with the accuracy of delivery to match his ability to spot it, Celtic are getting themselves someone who doesn’t need to shift, himself because this is a player who will make the ball do the leg-work.

Aaron Mooy of Australia celebrates after scoring their team’s second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier match between Oman and Australia at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on February 01, 2022 in Muscat, Oman. (Photo by Adil Al Naimi/Getty Images)

And yes, for a physical looking player Mooy may well come up short when it comes to the tackle, but he can win possession in advanced areas by nicking the ball away precisely, rather than thundering into a bone crunching tackle. For a team who operate the way Celtic do that is a far better attribute than a player who likes to impose their physicality – after all there are more subtle ways to win possession and that is perhaps something overlooked in Aaron Mooy’s game.

Mooy may well struggle to tackle a fish supper, even after 24 hours of nil by mouth, but he can certainly win Celtic the ball back when we lose possession and he can definitely use it to great effect after it’s won.

The positives for Aaron Mooy far outweigh any negatives. Being just as adept in a deeper role as he is as a No8 is a clear benefit to Celtic’s midfield, given he will be able to allow Callum McGregor to move forward in certain games – something that will be particularly valuable in European competition, but he can also play ahead of our captain just as comfortably.

Aaron Mooy of Australia controls the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 AFC Asian Qualifier match between Australia Socceroos and Vietnam at AAMI Park on January 27, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

And with the amount of experience in top level football as Mooy has picked up during his impressive playing career, a young Celtic team will now have someone else to add to the leadership group of what is predominately a youthful and inexperienced side, something that should not be understated in importance.

Add to that this is a player who already knows what is expected of an Ange Postecoglou player and as such should take little time to adjust to his new club and the playing style. His attributes beyond his passing and vision are also clear.

Mooy has wonderful technique and although predominately right footed he can still make precise passing over both short and long distances with his left. Add to that this is a player who never looks flustered in possession – no matter how many opposition bodies surround him, or how few passing options emerge immediately. Instead, his composure and calmness on the ball will be something that buys his teammates time off it – something his new teammates will realise almost immediately and will certainly appreciate.

But possibly the biggest attribute Mooy will bring to Celtic is his elite level decision making. Passes are not made to get rid of the ball, they are predominately the best option available, and they are, the vast majority of the time, positive and offensively minded.

This is not a player who keeps possession for the sake of it, instead the ball is only held long enough for a suitable forward pass to be made. Meanwhile his own positioning is also top class, he finds space in crowded areas and always offers a passing option for teammates. There is a real chance here that Callum McGregor and Aaron Mooy will be a beautiful partnership to watch emerge, as both players really should suit each other’s game.

Aaron Mooy of Australia and Omer Talib Al Fazari of Oman battle for the ball during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Australia and Oman at Khalifa International Stadium on October 7, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag/Getty Images)

As a midfielder in his early thirties there will always be concerns over fitness and injuries taking their toll, but his injury record doesn’t appear a real concern – indeed no worse than many players of a similar age. And although he’s been out of football since January – due to the Covid situation in the Chinese Super League – Mooy proved his fitness wasn’t in question when playing every minute of Australia’s games last month against the UAE and Peru, before scoring in the penalty shootout that saw the Socceroo’s defeat Peru to qualify for Qatar 2022. As such he might need to play catch-up to get up to speed, but it won’t be likely to take him long to do so.

Ange Postecoglou has already stated in recent days he hoped to sign two players this week. If Aaron Mooy becomes one of those, Celtic may have won a watch. Indeed, with his ability to play in two midfield positions equally well, there is already an argument to say Celtic will have signed two players rather than one, if they can get this Aaron Mooy deal over the line.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with your assessment of Mooy.

    I’ve read and watched a lot of mixed reaction this morning to him coming in and think some supporters are perhaps looking at a 31 year old free transfer (who won’t necessarily be a household name to some) and thinking this looks a bit odd.

    I watched a lot of Premier League games when he played for Huddersfield and Brighton. He was an absolute stand out player, he ran many of their games against quality opposition and as you say his ability to keep possession, his range of passing, ability to break up play coupled with a real goal threat makes him in my view a great asset.

    We are a fairly young side and sometimes an older head is necessary particularly in the Champions League. I’m sure he won’t be the last signing either.