THE CELTIC STAR contributor Niall J assesses the first week of the transfer window and is pretty happy with the business that Celtic are doing. Here is his take on the first 7 days of the window…
One week in to the window and we are up and running.
Already a vast improvement on the summer as we already have a new face through though the door so a big welcome to Oliver Burke. One of Scottish football’s brightest young hopes when he was at Nottingham Forest.
Since then a brief time with RB Leipzig where I must admit I admired him backing his own ability to go and play in a highly competitive league and within that also a highly competitive squad.
"I can’t wait to hit the ground running, play as many games as I can, and help the team as much as I can."
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 7, 2019
He clearly has faith in himself. His confidence may be dented with his return to UK shores resulting in a lack of game time at relegated West Brom but rather than feel sorry for himself he’s picked up his boots and fancied himself to get that time and development at Celtic.
Burke is a quick, direct player happiest on the front foot and committing players. He was criticised by Leipzig for his reluctance to track back but hopefully some coaching from the Celtic staff can help improve that. By no means the finished article, but exactly the age bracket we want and already with a good amount of football at club and international level under his belt. Shame it’s only 6 months, at least initially, but you never know what the future holds.
As I write rumour has it Timothy Weah has apparently agreed to an 18 month loan deal, fresh from agreeing a new contract with PSG that takes him to 2021. There remains confusion on the length of the contract but that should become clear very soon.
I like the sound of this one. Already played first team football in a highly competitive squad laden with attacking talent at such a young age bodes well, as does the case in his brief appearances he’s already shown he knows where the back of the net is. The fact PSG have signed him up on a longer deal shows their belief in him. It could well be they are just protecting the sell on value but I think they’re likely to see a future for Weah in Paris.
A USA international at such a tender age hopefully shows there is footballing maturity in there too. French Eddy has worked out well, massively talented for such a young age. If anything Weah looks further along the line than Edouard was when he arrived. Fingers crossed the rumours are true and we get the deal done.
BBC’s Tam McManus seems to be also suggesting the deal for Ivorian striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo may also be announced today, of course The Celtic Star was well ahead of the curve on this one too. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about this kid other that what I’ve read. Again however it seems a good price for a lad who has also been recognised at international level and has a good amount of first team football under his belt. Again with a habit of finding the net which is a big plus for a squad lacking in firepower at present. At what sort of level these goals are being scored I don’t know.
Bayo fits the profile of a developing talent, that should he do well could have an impact for us and the sell on value our business model relies upon.
All three will mix it up at the front end of the pitch. Both Burke and Bayo seem to be able to operate wide or through the middle. As such competition in those areas of the squad should also keep current incumbents like Forrest and Sinclair on their toes never mind the much needed help Edouard requires. Never a bad thing.
Hopefully the rest of the month will not go quietly. The ideal situation is that January becomes our main transfer window going forward. Too often we are chasing our tails and behind the curve for settling players in for early European qualifiers. Getting new faces in now beds them in with a style of play and of course settles them into new environments and new team mates before our season begins in June/July.
The rest of the month may well mean we look at full back options and a centre half. At left back we could well do with cover for Tierney as his hip problem now seems to be limiting his appearances. Both Izzaguire and Hayes have deputised and as such it may not be an immediate concern in some eyes, but for me I’d like good quality competition at left back. Izzy and Hayes are not long term solutions.
At right back faithful servant Lustig now looks like playing Sat/Weds is catching up. It’s possible historical injuries are making father time crook a finger in his direction.
Anthony Ralston has come in and shown he can cover but it’s a big ask for him given his own injury issues to come in and be first choice. It’s good to see us linked with the likes of Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne even if the price tag of a refuted £10 million would be at least £5 million too much for Celtic. It shows intent to address that area of the park. For me it’s essential we do and a right back of sufficient quality arrives in this window.
At centre half I’m happy with both Ajer and with Benkovic. Simunovic has never quite hit the heights but is suitable enough cover short term. Again however injuries have hampered him greatly.
With Boyata’s agent pimping him around Europe I’d expect at least a pre-contract elsewhere this month if not a full on move out. Either way a centre half now becomes a priority. Again preferably this month to allow a back 4 to get settled before we hit the qualifiers.
If all these positions were addressed it would mean six new faces. Personally I’d like seven. Such greed!
I’d like another defensive minded midfielder. Nir Bitton doesn’t look like he’s coming back and even if he did his presence slows the midfield down. With Scott Brown in and out both in terms of appearances and consistency when he has played. It would be prudent to look at alternatives. Sometimes I just wish we had two Callum McGregors.
Old face Johansen seems to be lacking in game time down at Craven Cottage. Might be worth picking up the phone and advising it’s a happier dressing room in Glasgow than the one he left. Just my opinion!
Looks like a few could be out on loan should moves materialise. The like of Jack Hendry and Lewis Morgan moving out on loan makes sense. They are struggling for consistent game time and at an age where they must be playing to develop. In the case of young Jack his thrusting into first team action so soon was never the plan. If Aberdeen/Hibs or Championship sides can offer a run of games it’ll do him and us the world of good. Lewis Morgan could certainly be a player. Much like Ryan Christie I’d like his move to a top six SPL side with a bit of pressure to win.
So far so good. Young hungry players with a point to prove either confirmed or looking like their done. Let’s hope it continues and the case for the defence is not neglected.
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Also on The Celtic Star…
‘Celtic fans are amongst the best in the world,’ new Bhoy Oliver Burke…See HERE.
Timothy Weah set to sign 18 month loan move to Celtic…See HERE.
Scotland’s Shame! Celtic legend Chris Sutton receives death threats…See HERE.
Jim Craig – I caught a No.62 bus going to Auchenshuggle, to sign for Celtic…See HERE.
‘The football royalty that is Real Madrid came to town,’ Matt Corr…See HERE.
Your thoughts on Beaton and his ‘Curious Decisions’…See HERE.
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