FORMER Celtic star and Assistant Manager Johan Mjallby reckons that Brendan Rodgers will be counting down the days to the closure of the transfer windows, at least in regard to possible exits from his squad.
Dedryck Boyata is away on his two week break after his heroics at the World Cup for Belgium and the former Assistant boss at the national team suggested this morning that it may be time for him to move to a bigger league, despite all the benefits to his game that working with Brendan Rodgers and playing for Celtic brings – see HERE.
Kieran Tierney and Jozo Simunovic have also been linked with moves elsewhere in recent weeks as managers around Europe eye up the Celtic squad and there will no doubt be other Celts on the radar of clubs down south and on the Continent, but Mjallby realises the importance of keeping the squad together for Celtic’s own European ambitions.
“I’m sure Brendan would rather be safe in the knowledge that a player will be at the club for the whole of the Champions League qualifiers for the next seven or eight weeks,” Mjallby said.
“You don’t want to lose a key player at this stage, particularly a central defender. They should be the rocks of the team.
“After the situation has been resolved – and you are either in the Champions League or not – then things become different.
“That’s when things can happen. Until then, you need everyone focused and alert.
“Due to World Cup commitments, Dedryck Boyata missed playing against Alashkert in the opening Champions League qualifier.
“The same applied to Mikael Lustig, and I would imagine Brendan would want them back for the next tie.
“But that is the team without 50 per cent of its first-choice defensive line-up. It’s hardly ideal. It is yet another downside to having to play qualifiers so early and I think it is all very unfair on Celtic.
“The champions of Scotland should be treated with more respect.”
Mjallby, a former Celtic central defender himself, has been particularly impressed by Boyata’s performances in Russia. “I’m not surprised there is interest in Dedryck Boyata.
“I think he has really improved in the past 18 months, and you can see his reading of the game is good. He is also inclined not to take as many risks as he used to.
“His performances at the World Cup will also have enhanced his profile.
“I think he has been very solid at the heart of their defence and he played well against England.
“Of course, the negative to all of this, from the point of view of Brendan Rodgers, is that the player attracts attention.
“Yes, it may well increase his value in the transfer market, but Brendan, I’m sure, will not want to lose him.”