In a summer that has been dominated by the prospect of bringing in a new goalkeeper, Celtic must be wary before they let another depart.
Vasilios Barkas came in the door from AEK Athens last month to ensure that Celtic finally had three goalkeepers for the season ahead. However, the third choice in that list behind Barkas and Scott Bain – Conor Hazard – is reportedly wanted by League One side Accrington Stanley (Scottish Sun).
The potential deal looks to be a perfect one from a Celtic perspective on paper. A goalkeeper who has yet to even make an appearance for the first-team potentially departing with a nice sell-on fee attached (Scottish Sun). Considering Accrington play in League One, the opportunity is there for Celtic to potentially make a seven-figure sum from this somewhere down the line.
However, allowing Hazard to go could potentially leave Celtic in an extremely vulnerable position.
Ross Doohan is out on loan at the moment, meaning the Hoops would need to bring in yet another shot-stopper. Half-decent ones don’t come cheap either. It may be that any new signing is an improvement on Hazard in terms of experience, but that’ll require some money.
Hazard must be well thought of
Hazard is also in this position for a reason. He’s supposed to be highly-rated, and that’s why he’s been given a nice promotion to third choice this season. Would we really throw away a player who should be a long-term project for a small fee and a sell-on clause?
Celtic don’t need to go selling their best young talent just because they still have a bit to go before they reach our level. Hazard may only be 22, but that’s still extremely young for a goalkeeper.
Surely, if Hazard is the best young shot-stopper we have at the club, it would be in our best interests to loan him out for the season provided we bring another in for the short-term.
If Accrington were open to a temporary deal as opposed to a permanent one, that should be something worth considering. But only if the club didn’t have to fork out substantially for an able third-choice replacement. Considering the quality of striker in England’s third tier, Hazard would definitely be tested to a greater degree than he was at Falkirk, Dundee, and Partick Thistle respectively.
It would feel foolish to give up on the youngster so quickly. Celtic must have three able goalkeepers available for selection, and there’s no guarantee that a short-term able replacement would be open to coming to Parkhead just to sit on the bench for a year.
If Celtic are going to accept a deal from Accrington, it simply must fall under two conditions. One that it’s a loan and not permanent, and two being that we have a short-term replacement identified.