The Players Currently on Celtic’s Radar

At last, there appears to be some positive news regarding incoming transfers at Celtic and all three appear to be players earmarked for first team football and all in the positions Ange Postecoglou advised he needed ‘two days ago’ some three weeks ago. Better late than never? We’ll see soon enough.

As The Celtic Star advised this morning Swedish sources are reporting Celtic have agreed a fee of £4m and personal terms for 26-year-old central defender Carl Starfelt from Ruben Kazan, meanwhile Israeli winger Liel Abada is being reported is also heading in our direction with a reported £3.5m fee agreed with Maccabi Petah Tikva.

Liel Abada in action

There have also been further reports Rennes right back Brandon Soppy is still someone the club are keen to sign with claims personal terms are not an issue but that the clubs remain apart in terms of respective valuations, something that we can but hope can be bridged. That may be less problematic with French football in the midst of a TV deal collapse that could well see many clubs having to sell this summer, and quickly, to balance the books.

34 BRANDON SOPPY REN – 15 ROGER ASSALE DIJ FOOTBALL : Rennes vs Dijon – Ligue 1 Uber Eats – 25/04/2021 FEP/Panoramic

Right back is an area of urgent attention and considering Celtic probably require two players for the problem position links to another Rennes full back, who spent last season on loan with Dijon, are welcome with Sasha Boey also heavily rumoured to be interesting the club and a fee of fee £1m particularly appealing if more than one recruit is needed.

For me I’d be delighted with signing all four players. Carl Starfelt is an experienced centre half ideal for the spine of the team and one where we’d get his peak years playing for Celtic. Starfelt would also come into an area of the squad where we have youthful alternatives in Stephen Welsh and Leo Hjelde but could do with some experience alongside their burgeoning talents of top-level football. Allied to his international caps, Carl Starfelt would bring just that. If Kris Ajer is looking to move this signing could also help facilitate an exit for the disgruntled Norwegian, who suddenly has become more susceptible to injury.

Liel Abada will come with reservations despite his £3.5m price tag, with rumours his Israeli representation is Dudu Dahan you can forgive some fans being somewhat reticent on this deal. That said he’s a player who nearly signed for Dynamo Kiev before a last-minute dispute over contract terms put paid to the move, he has also been on the radar of Club Brugge.

Statistically he very much looks a work in progress but at 19 who wouldn’t be? His goalscoring exploits, thirteen last season, have to be respected for a wide player and he appears to be a player who prefers to pass and move rather than dribble with the ball. Defensively his game needs some fine tuning when it comes to tracking back but he does shield he ball well and is always looking to attack, he would also be signing for a manager who can develop young players.

His online video clips indicate a player with a fair turn of pace and one with good spatial awareness and has clear potential to grow as a player yet is ready to be a first team talent. It also looks like Abada could play a striking role particularly in games where we may be expected to counter attack.

At full back Brandon Soppy would be an interesting acquisition. Again, a young player but highly regarded, a lack of football may be a negative, as he’s only averaged a game a month over the last year and hasn’t completed a lot of 90 minutes in that time. He has played predominately at right back and also deputised as both a right side and left side central defender.

His strengths appear to be that he is pacey, likes to run with the ball, dribble and is strong in the tackle. The negatives are his final delivery needs fine tuning, he’s prone to conceding fouls and aerially he can be caught out, yet those issues would come on a lot with both time on the training ground and more consistency of selection than he’s had at Rennes and Celtic have to buy potential these days. There is certainly potential there and he fits the profile Postecoglou looks for in a full back.

The same can also be said for Sasha Boey. If he was to sign alongside Soppy there could be an argument it would be as cover for his Rennes teammate but Boey in some ways is more advanced, though perhaps Soppy’s ceiling could be perceived as being higher.

Boey has played a lot more football and last season played 27 games for a Dijon side who ultimately dropped out of Ligue 1, Boey’s only real weakness is his distribution of the ball, he is another who like Soppy likes to get forward and run with the ball, he tries to cross early and is strong in the tackle. He also appears to show good levels of concentration, is strong on interceptions and blocking cross balls.

If Celtic are serious about signing both players, this could be a real coup for the club. Both Boey and Soppy are by no means the finished article but they would give us talent ready and available to go straight into first team consideration and both have attributes that would add greatly to an area of the squad we need to address urgently.

So far Celtic have gone down the route of youthful targets predominately and three out the four linked to the club today fall into that category. That appears to be the sort of talent Ange Postecoglou likes to improve and it can complement they young talent we already have, however it is also good to see the spine of the team having experience added to it and Carl Starfelt will bring us just that. We’ll need a couple more with a similar profile.

The question now is if we can get the deals over the line, if they can be registered for our Champions league qualifier and if we have enough time to bed some of them in to play either leg. Fingers crossed we can.

Niall J

About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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