YESTERDAY was a bittersweet day for the Celtic supporters as Bolingoli sealed his departure from the club. The 25-year-old left for Istanbul, joining Superliga side Basaksehir. It just so happened that on the same day that Bolingoli’s Celtic future was resolved, two players that the club were linked with last year were performing for their new sides.
Bolingoli left on a season-long loan after he decided to break strict quarantine rules and depart for Spain on an overnighter. Romain Perraud of Brest and Birger Meling were two players that Celtic ran the rule over last summer as Kieran Tierney’s departure to Arsenal neared.
Nice were prepared to sell the left back but Celtic didn’t strike a deal and Brest swooped and managed to seal the Frenchman’s signature for a fee in the region of £2m. The Celtic recruitment team made two offers but then decided to move on from the player, allowing the Ligue 1 side to sign him.
— Team Brestois 29 ❤️🤍 (@TeamBrestois29) September 13, 2020
Meanwhile Birger Meling, formerly of Rosenborg, got an assist for his new club Nimes. The left back bagged an assist for his new club riding a challenge, hiring the byline and then finding a teammate in space to score. The 25-year-old joined for just £1m as he entered the last six months of his deal with the Norwegian side.
Lovely assist from Birger Meling 👌pic.twitter.com/AcgSV913wX
— 🇳🇴 Football (@NORftbl) September 13, 2020
It is a case of what could have been for Celtic. The £3m fee that was paid to Rapid Vienna could have facilitated the fees for both Meling and Perraud. The Kieran Tierney succession plan appears to have landed flat with just Greg Taylor remaining as the clubs sole left back.
Whilst Tierney has pushed on and become a regular in the Arsenal starting XI, the left back position has been a cause of concern for Neil Lennon with Taylor becoming the first choice, albeit for all Taylor’s effort, in attack he has struggled to match up to the weight of replacing KT. He is still an important squad player but Celtic need to prioritise an attacking left wingback that can allow Neil Lennon to play his desired 3-5-2.
Celtic can’t go after Meling due to signing this summer. Perraud meanwhile could be a option from the club’s recruitment team but it would probably involve a fee way upwards of what they paid Nice last summer.
As for the Belgian, it would appear that despite it being a loan his career in Glasgow is over. As a result of his actions, Celtic were forced to have two games postponed meaning they were two games short of match fitness for the game against Ferencvaros. Ironically, he will have the chance to compete in the Champions League. It is unlikely that he will play for the club again and hopefully Celtic can recoup some of the £2.5m they paid Rapid Vienna for the player with the deal with the Turkish Champions.
Lennon confirmed that the club had conferred upon the Belgian the highest possible punishment available to them after his breaching of Coronavirus protocols. Bolingoli decided to go to Spain for one night and failed to quarantine when he returned, putting the whole of Scottish football at risk of being shut down again.