They say 24 hours is a long time in football and in the case of Stephen Welsh and transfer interest from Sheffield Wednesday, as covered by Paul Gillespie last night for The Celtic Star, it certainly seems to ring true.
After Celtic ended their loan agreement of Moritz Jenz early, allowing the centre half to move to the Bundesliga with Schalke, Ange Postecoglou appeared, as reported in the Scotsman on Saturday night, to quell any concerns that one of Celtic’s academy graduates may about to leave the club on a temporary or permanent basis.
“There was speculation but he (Stephen Welsh) wasn’t likely to leave. I thought Moritz did really well for us. He hadn’t played a lot over the second half of the year in France and we picked him up. The whole idea was to bring him into the environment so we got him on a loan with an option to buy.
“I thought he did well for us but obviously as the season went on I was really keen to bring in Yuki Kobayashi, who I had been tracking as a left-sided centre-back. Once we got that deal done it meant that there was going to be limited opportunities for someone like Moritz.”
It appeared then that Welsh was likely to remain a Celtic player at least for the remainder of the season, and with Moritz Jenz moving on there was every likelihood that Welsh, be it due to squad rotation or injuries to teammates, would play enough games for second consecutive league title winners medal. Now that appears to be up in the air. So, what’s changed?
Well first of all Anthony Joseph doesn’t get much wrong when it comes to news coming out of Celtic Park but occasionally it happens. The Sky Sports reporting Celtic supporter certainly seems to believe there is a possibility Welsh will move on, at least on a loan basis for the rest of the season. Meanwhile Celtic B’s Bosun Lawal, a former Academy player of the year with Watford, has made his first appearance in a competitive match for the Hoops in Celtic’s 5-0 Scottish Cup win over Morton.
The Celtic boss had advised future appearances may be dependent on how Lawal performed in fixtures against Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers, advising if the young defender laid down a marker and bossed those games then future Celtic appearances could be in the offing.
A late equaliser stopped Celtic from earning a win in their Premier League International Cup clash with Leicester City last Wednesday and Lawal played his part in the 2-2 draw. Blackburn Rovers is next up tomorrow night, but perhaps Lawal has already done enough to suggest he can fill in at first team level should injury to the likes of Cameron Carter Vickers, Carl Starfelt and new signing Yuki Kobayashi occur, meaning of course there is scope to allow Stephen Welsh to get regular first team football elsewhere.
The young Celt may also have made his own feelings clear over the weekend that bench warming for another six months wouldn’t do him any good and he may be pragmatic enough to realise that a bit part role may once again be something he would have to settle for again for the remainder of the season. And with interest from Serie A’s Udinese seemingly genuine last year, perhaps Welsh realises there is only so long without first team exposure that his name may be in such conversations moving forward.
Either way the reported interest in Stephen Welsh seems genuine from Sheffield Wednesday, yet the manager’s weekend quotes seem at odds with what is being reported.
With only a few short hours of the transfer window remaining it will be interesting to see if one of the Celtic Academy’s recent graduates will be part of Celtic’s title run-in or perhaps looking to add a League One promotion to his CV.