It’s nearly Christmas, which means it’s also nearly January.

That’s good, because it means that Celtic’s faltering season can be temporarily ignored. Instead, we can look at a number of transfer rumours, and rate them appropriately.

From the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s take a wisened view of the latest newspaper murmurings and see if they’d actually make sense. The rating system is based on:

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  1. The actual chance of it happening
  2. Would it benefit the first team?
  3. Cost (including wages)
  4. Sell-on value (if applicable)

Let’s go. Feel free to disagree with us on @67hailhail.

 

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League

Phil Jones: beautiful / (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Phil Jones – D+

According to 90Min, Celtic are one of many clubs “in” for Manchester United outcast Phil Jones.

My main concern here is for Phil Jones’ agent. Presumably, them or one of their staff would have to set up a Tweetdeck, and read the various diatribes about the former England defender on any given day.

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How many times could they read Luton Town fans saying “[laugh emoji] my NAN could play CB in the SPL!!!”? Or a Manchester United fan from London going “farmers league” every few minutes?

It’s a shame. It’s someone’s job, that.

For what it’s worth, Phil Jones’ stock may have fallen in recent years but the flexibly-faced centre back isn’t that bad, surely. Since 2011, he’s made 27 caps for England, and 224 appearances for Manchester United (Transfermarkt).

I know what you’re thinking, though. Is he Franco Baresi? No. Would he also add real quality to our defence? Also, no.

Given that in 20-21, Celtic’s back-line has been a composure vacuum, it’s hard to know what Jones’ brand of ball-watching would necessarily contribute. Yes, he’s committed, and yes, he looks very funny, but even on loan it’s hard to say in good faith that Phil Jones is the answer to anything.

Also, he’ll be looking for an England recall. For the English FA, plying your trade in Scotland is akin to retirement, whereas being average for, say Watford, is worth its weight in gold. So it won’t do his chances any good. I just don’t see this one happening.

Celtic-linked Bright Osayi-Samuel

Celtic-linked Bright Osayi-Samuel / (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Bright Osayi-Samuel – B+

A “priority” for Celtic (The Scottish Sun), QPR’s Bright Osayi-Samuel is top of a list at Celtic Park marked “yes, please”

By all counts, Osayi-Samuel is an absolute ‘pler’. Currently at QPR, the winger would provide pace, guile and production to a sparse Celtic squad, in terms of wide options.

A player already covered on this hallowed website by my beautiful colleagues John McGinley and David Walton, Osayi-Samuel’s contract runs out in the summer. For the accounts department at Celtic, this means he’ll be available at a cut price. Kerching.

A versatile attacker who can play anywhere in a front 3 (WhoScored?), Osayi-Samuel is an exciting if ill-disciplined winger. He gets caught offside a little too often, and commits 1.4 fouls a game. That said, he’ll gets fans off their seats/couches/deckchairs with his movement and fearlessness in taking people on.

As surely as night follows day, he’s also been linked to Rangers. Lennon should get his best Oliver Twist impression going and convince Peter Lawwell to snap up the 22-year-old, pronto. A young player, he could make us multiples of what we sign him for.

Laurent Robert, Gary Neville

Getty Images: His Dad will have to do / (Gary M Prior /Allsport)

Thomas Robert – B

For some reason, our friends at Getty Images don’t have anything for Thomas Robert, so there’s his Dad. This isn’t to ramp up the pressure on Airdrieonians starlet Thomas Robert, it’s just convenient.

Formerly of Montpellier, Thomas Robert allegedly turned down moves to Ligue 1 and across Europe (Daily Mail) to move to Ayshire in 2020. The youngster has won acclaim in Scotland’s third-tier and has been linked to Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Hibs in the Premiership.

Another pacy attacking option for the Bhoys, Ian Murray astutely summarised (Daily Record):

 

“When was the last time Airdrie had a player linked to the Old Firm and it’s on the back page of a national newspaper?”

Quite.

This would be a real sink-or-swim moment for both player and club. Half a season at Ayr United does not a superstar make, but it’s clear he’s too talented for where he is.

That said, what does it say to Celtic’s youngsters, like Cameron Harper and Karamoko Dembélé, if a player from the third tier is able to come in and make the the first team right away?

It seems unlikely that Robert would make an instant impact at Celtic. His long-term potential is well worth the fee, but this feels more like a summer move than a January “swoop”. So, it’s a B at the most. Send this article back to me when he’s won the Ballon D’Or.

On loan Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster in action for Celtic / (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Fraser Forster – C+

We’ve talked about Fraser Forster before.

A lot, in fact. Now, according to the Daily Record, it’s déjà vu all over again.

Yes: he’s the best keeper we’ve had since Artur Boruc. Ah, but: he’s left us twice before. Still: the League Cup Final and Lazio saves last season.

Using the cop-out of “I’d love to be wrong!” once again, I’m going to give Fraser Forster moving to Celtic a C+ in terms of likelihood and actual benefit to the Bhoys.

He would be an immediate upgrade at the number 1 spot, but he’s a temporary solution to a permanent problem. By his actions, he’s made it clear that he sees himself as a Premier League goalkeeper, and he absolutely has the skill-set to be that.

Also, Euro 2020 (in 2021) is coming up, so he’ll be looking to establish himself at a club with more English eyes watching. Beyond recapturing form and actually playing football, it’s hard to see where the benefits lie for Fraser Forster in terms of another northern sojourn.

A la David Marshall way back when, would the responsible, future-proof option not be sticking with Conor Hazard? How likely is he to sign a new deal if we publicly court a much better replacement?

One of Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas really need to be leaving in January, so you could feasibly argue a goalkeeper is somewhat of a priority. But Hazard has done alright so far. It seems more “the Celtic way” to give him opportunities as opposed to begging Southampton for another shot of their second-choice goalie, does it not?

Call me crazy (don’t actually), but I don’t think this’ll happen. Forster’s agent will be extolling the virtues of a move within England, I’ve no doubt. Or, he could rebuild his national team chances with a spell abroad. Another stay at Celtic, though? I’d honestly be surprised.

Brighton And Hove Albion v Manchester United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard / (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Jesse Lingard – F

Jesse Lingard is on £100,000 a week (Goal).

Lingard also played 22 times in the Premier League last season, making 0 assists (Transfermarkt).

The Manchester United winger has been linked to Celtic by a variety of sources including the Glasgow Times.

You’re alright, ta.

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