Bahlul Mustafazada comments on potential move to Celtic or Rangers

By David Walton

June 6, 2019

Azerbaijan centre-back Bahlul Mustafazada has touched on a potential move to Celtic or Rangers this summer.

Mustafazada may be a name some Celtic fans remember from a couple of months back. The Gabala defender spoke back in April about how he would love a move to Celtic (Daily Record). But whilst that still seems to remain the case, he’s also now stated he would join Rangers just as quickly.

The centre-back is out of contract at the end of June (Transfermarkt). Therefore, he could be picked up for nothing by either club. If both are interested, however, a pre-contract could also have been signed by now.

Neil Lennon is in desperate need of defensive recruits this summer (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But as he spoke today on the speculation, Mustafazada confirmed he would be equally as pleased to join Rangers as he would Celtic. Speaking in the Record, this is what he had to say:

“My aim is to play abroad and I have read about the interest from both Celtic and Rangers. There’s been nothing concrete yet though.

“I would do anything to try and make this move happen. Celtic or Rangers? For me there is no difference. Yes, it would be interesting to work with a coach like Steven Gerrard, but the main thing for me is my development.

“I do not intend to join any of the Glasgow clubs just to sit on the bench.”

Patience would be key if he joined Parkhead

It won’t help him the fact he decided to name-drop Steven Gerrard to work with. But at the end of the day, Celtic’s decision on a move for Mustafazada would hardly depend on him preferring a move to Rangers or not seeing much difference in the two. For a young player from Azerbaijan, that’s to be expected.

Dedryck Boyata’s replacement has yet to be signed (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

But what he’ll also have to understand if Celtic move for him is that patience will be key. Mustafazada is still incredibly inexperienced in the game, and has only made 49 senior appearances at first-team level. He’s featured on 10 occasions for Azerbaijan at under-21 level, but has never won a cap for the senior side yet.

The defender is only 22 years of age, so there is plenty of development in him. He was also part of the Gabala team that were knocked out of the Europa League in the first qualifying round to the famous Progres Niederkorn this season.

The likes of Kristoffer Ajer won’t be displaced so easily at Parkhead (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Moving from a club like Gabala to Celtic is a monumental step-up. He wouldn’t be going straight into the first-team and displacing the likes of Kristoffer Ajer, Jozo Simunovic, or any new defensive recruits.

So if Mustafazada is looking to be instantly thrown into first-team level and playing week-in, week-out, then he should head to Ibrox where he’ll have a better chance.

As it stands, Celtic haven’t appeared to step up their interest in him if reports are anything to go by. But Mustafazada may want to play down his expectations in any case.