Undoubtedly, Celtic face the prospect of having an enormous clear-out in the coming summer months.
Consequentially, openings will present themselves for those that remain at the club. One man who could plug a problem position for the Hoops is Lee O’Connor, who currently finds himself on loan at Sky Bet League 2 side Tranmere Rovers.
Possessing commendable pedigree, O’Connor joined the Hoops from Manchester United in 2019/20.
Intriguingly, he retains incredible versatility as he is able to perform at right-back, left-back, centre-back, holding midfield and right-midfield.
Despite his primary function as a defender, O’Connor is an intelligent footballer who enjoys supporting build-up play from deep.
Conceivably, his all-encompassing nature could fit agreeably with the Hoops style of play.
He could potentially fill in for anyone across the back-four, as well as in the middle of the pitch next campaign. Whilst his ball-playing tendencies are in sync with a Celtic side who aim to execute a high-octane possession-based game.
How has Lee O’Connor fared on loan at Tranmere Rovers this season?
The 20-year-old has backed up his growing reputation by becoming an influential part of the promotion chasing side. Overall, he has made 33 appearances for the Super White Army in 2020/21 aiding them to third place in the English fourth-tier [Transfermarkt].
He has also helped the Merseysiders get to the Papa Johns Trophy final, claiming a man of the match performance in the quarter-final against League 1 Peterborough.
His Irish team-mate Joe Murphy has previously given him a raving endorsement when talking to the42.ie; stating:
“Lee is an excellent, excellent player,”
“He’s not a League Two player, Lee is like a Championship footballer. He’s clever, he’s really cool on the ball, very calm, and he’s like that as a lad too – very laid-back.
Evidently, the Waterford native has been able to advance his development effectively in a senior setting. Achieving 1.9 clearances per 90 minutes, the former Red Devils youth has a lot to his game that could be of use at Parkhead next campaign [WhoScored].
Looking into June, Anthony Ralston will be the only senior option at right-back should Jonjoe Kenny return to Everton. The Bhoys may look to strengthen the problem position ahead of the Champions League qualifiers in July.
However, any prospective new manager must be willing to grant opportunities to younger talents. Long-term improvement and development of prospects has to be an essential focus of the Celtic mantra in coming years. Already a fully paid up Irish international [CaughtOffside], he is surely worth an extensive evaluation once pre-season rolls around at Parkhead.