Celtic’s failure to sign centre-backs this month will prove extremely costly in the summer.
That’s because the Hoops are going to be in a desperate position of needing to find two replacements for Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic. With Champions League qualifiers starting as early as mid-July, the club really don’t need a new defence bedding in.
Benkovic is most certainly heading back to Leiecester City. The Foxes spent £13million to lure the centre-back from Croatia. Given the goals they’re leaking and the pressure Claude Puel is under, they could do with the big Croat next season.
Then there’s Boyata, whose agent has been desperate to let everyone know he won’t be staying at Parkhead beyond the summer. The Belgian is into the final few months of his deal, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sign a pre-contract elsewhere.
That’s going to leave Celtic in a brutal position ahead of four must-win Champions League qualifiers to start the new season.
The Hoops could really do with splashing the cash and bringing at least one in this month. But it’s starting to seriously look as if Celtic don’t see the heart of their defence as a priority.
Plans for next season have to be put in place
Whilst the club are determined not to look past the end of the season, the line has to be drawn somewhere. There has to be some strategic planning in place to tackle the challenges that next season will provide.
A total revamp of the defence isn’t going to do Celtic any good. The club would have to be extremely fortunate to get two solid centre-backs in who clicked instantaneously. Yet that’s what they’re going to need if they’re to be successful in the Champions League qualifiers.
There is, of course, the option of playing Jozo Simunovic, Kristoffer Ajer, or Jack Hendry. But none of those players will see much action between now and the end of the season, and for good reason. Ajer is certainly more solid than the other two, but still not at the level required.
It looks as though the club are happy to leave the centre-back position on the basis that we have enough to seal eight-in-a-row, and potentially a treble-treble.
Whilst that’s true – this is a situation that could seriously hurt us come the start of next season. We’ll soon see just how wise Celtic have been here.