Celtic’s centre back situation assessed

Exciting Polish centre half Maik Nawrocki was confirmed as Celtic’s sixth official summer signing today, but where does this leave Celtic’s centre half situation now?

After Celtic’s underwhelming results and performances in the remaining league games of last season, many fans were calling for further investment in the playing squad. Specifically, for further strengthening in the centre half department, with Yuki Kobayashi failing to impress when given opportunities in the remaining league games post-split last season.

Celtic v St Mirren – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park Celtic s Yuki Kobayashi left reacts during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park on Wednesday January 18, 2023. Photo Andrew Milligan

Those who had concerns over Celtic’s centre half options have had their concerns largely eradicated today with the signing of the either-footed Nawrocki. A £4.3 million transfer fee shows Celtic’s determination to get the deal over the line, and their faith that the player will be a success.

The fee alone also indicates that the signing of the 22-year-old Polish centre half is not a signing merely made for squad depth, but an acquisition that Brendan Rodgers hopes will challenge Carl Starfelt for his starting berth this season.

Carl Starfelt of Celtic embraces teammate Cameron Carter-Vickers after the team’s victory in the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between theRangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on April 30, 2023 i. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With the promising news that Cameron Carter-Vickers is back training, Celtic now have seven current first team centre halves at the club. Carter Vickers and Starfelt the starting pair, followed by Kobayashi, Welsh, Scales, Lawal and now Nawrocki.

Stephen Welsh Photo Steve Welsh

Cameron Carter Vickers, Carl Starfelt and Maik Nawrocki will be Celtic’s three main centre half options, but questions remain regarding who will be that fourth-choice centre half for the upcoming season.

Yuki Kobayashi is a competent ball playing defender but lacks the aggression and physicality to dominate in a Celtic shirt, a loan may be best for his development this season. Stephen Welsh is a talented centre half and needs more game time, possibly a loan is also best for the sake of his career.

Both Liam Scales and Bosun Lawal have questions regarding their futures at the club, with loan moves likely for the pair of them.

Stephen Welsh is arguably Celtics best option as a fourth-choice centre half this upcoming season, but the player needs to be getting consistent game-time at this stage of his career, something he won’t get in Glasgow’s East End. Celtic may well dip into the market for another centre half, Xavier Mbuyamba comes to mind.

Zain Westbrooke of Bristol Rovers battles for possession with Xavier Mbuyamba of Chelsea during the Papa John’s Trophy match between Bristol Rovers and Chelsea U21 at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2021. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

Regardless of this, the £4.3 million outlay spent on Nawrocki is a significant statement of intent from the Celtic board, and one that hopefully is a benchmark for the remainder of Celtics transfer window.

James French

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