EIGHT IN A ROW Captain Scott Brown looked ahead to the summer and reckons that the winds of change are once again set to blow through Celtic as the squad changes dramatcially over the next few months. Broony watched as the young Celtic side yesterday impressed in the final league match of what has been an eventful season on and off the park at Celtic.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) May 19, 2019
Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele gave a hint of a bright future for Celtic and there were plenty of other promising young Hoops on The Celtic bench too. Their day will undoubtedly come. Daniel Church is a highly rated full-back in the mould of Kieran Tierney, Stephen Welsh and Armstrong Oko-Flex are exciting prospects too and all of them will have been buzzing having been involved in such a special day as yesterday in Paradise.
They are The Celtic stars of tomorrow.
Broony was clear in the changes in the squad that are coming, so for quite a few who were collecting their medals yesterday, and maybe also for Emilio Izaguirre who was strangely absent from the medal presentation (we are assuming that there are sponsors medals rather than the real thing given the number actually handed out?)
“There will be a clear-out at the end of the season and a lot of people will be leaving and there will be a lot of new faces coming in as well,” Broony said afterwards to the media, as reported by Daily Record.
“There’s a lot of lads who have been here a long time that love being here and have won a lot of trophies and I think that’s what makes this club special.
“The lads have a lot of love and passion for the club and for the fans as well.”
The changes have already begun with Hertha Berlin yesterday morning announcing that they had reached an agreement with Dedryck Boyata to join them on a free. Timo Weah had left a week earlier, when Neil Lennon cut short his loan spell after the American teenager rejected a compromise agreement reached between the interim Celtic manager and the United States Under 20s coaches to allow Weah to return to Glasgow today to take part in Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final – Weah’s loss could be Mikey Johnston’s gain as The Celtic youngster put forward a compelling case for inclusion in the Hampden squad.
Emilio was quoted in the press via an interview with a media outlet in Honduras that he had been offered a one year contract but was looking at a move to the States. Paul the Tim, who is close to Izaguirre, said that the player subsequently denied this. Either way, it looks like he will be leaving Celtic, with his head held high.
And Mikael Lustig, who was the first player out yesterday for the Trophy presentation and who lifted it alongside Scott Brown, could also be away. Lustig, along with the skipper and our Player of the Year James Forrest are the only three players who have been here for all Eight title wins.
Some departures are more clear cut. Dorus de Vries is at the end of his contract – unbelievably he was actually given an extension by his mate Brendan – and he will leave not having played at all this season.
The other loan players, Jerry Toljan, Oli Burke and Filip Benkovic will all return to their parent clubs, with the Croatian defender a decent shout for a second loan spell at Celtic given the recent comments from his manager down there and the player himself.
Toljan hasn’t done anywhere near enough to suggest that Celtic would want to sign him from Dortmund and Oli Burke is a big £15million problem for West Brom. Sandman in his brilliant Player Ratings last night – see HERE – reckoned that Celtic should bid £3million for his raw potential but no more. It’s hard to believe that West Brom are going to better that type of money elsewhere.
Cristian Gamboa, another terrible Rodgers signing, is also out of contract and will leave the club, while Marvin Compper still has a year to go on his lucrative contract and certainly seems to be enjoying life not playing for Celtic, judging by the way he celebrated on the park yesterday. He also got one of the biggest cheers of the day, The Celtic support can do irony very well indeed at times like this.
Surely Celtic will call time on Marvin’s time at the club this summer and send him on his way with a compromise agreement and a cheque in his hip pocket?
Nir Bitton is also out of contract but given his worth as cover for Broony in midfield and in emergency he can play in central defence, he might just stay around the place for a few more years, although it’s not certain.
Scott Allan has already signed a pre-contract with Hibs and will join them for pre-season training. Benyu who is over in Sweden not doing very well on loan, made a big error in his social media activity last weekend so would struggle to be welcomed back at Celtic even if he was good enough. Another weird and woeful Rodgers signing.
There could be one or two outgoing transfers, Olivier Ntcham hasn’t looked like the player we know he can be since his mate Moussa left and Porto remain long term admirers of the Frenchman.
Then there’s any play that Brendan Rodgers might make for the core Celtic stars in the team – players like Forrest, Rogic, Tierney and McGregor might be the subject of big money bids from Leicester City. Hopefully though he leaves us well alone.
Yesterday at Celtic Park, under the Janefield Street tunnel, there is still a lingering Rodgers memory on display. There were 60,000 there yesterday enjoying the triumph, none of them noticed this photograph of the Forgotten Man.