David Turnbull’s potential signing at Celtic would leave some questions needing answered – with one involving Youssouf Mulumbu.
The Congolese midfielder arrived at the club last summer. Since then, he’s made just three appearances for the Hoops before being shipped back on loan to Kilmarnock.
Interestingly, former Killie boss Steve Clarke got a tune out of him yet again in Ayrshire. Mulumbu went on to make 12 out of a possible 14 appearances at Rugby Park, dictating many games from the midfield.
Mulumbu became an integral part of the Killie squad that secured third place and European football for the first time since 2001. Playing alongside Alan Power and Gary Dicker, Clarke’s engine room was beaming with strength and efficiency.
But it doesn’t feel as though Mulumbu’s Celtic chances have increased somewhat. As it stands, he’s behind Callum McGregor, Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, Eboue Kouassi, Nir Bitton, and Ryan Christie respectively.
If Turnbull was to sign, you would imagine he would also instantly go over Mulumbu. That would leave the Congolese star around seventh in line for a spot in one of two midfield spots. That’s a huge concern for the midfielder.
Mulumbu is also now entering the final year of his contract (Transfermarkt). And, if Turnbull signed up, you struggle to see why Mulumbu would be given another chance.
Turnbull signing ensures Mulumbu drops further
Why would Neil Lennon sacrifice developing a young talent in Turnbull who craves game-time, in place of a soon-to-be out of contract 32-year-old who hasn’t made it here? It feels like the kind of signing which would all but confirm Mulumbu’s lack of a future in Glasgow.
At the end of the day, Mulumbu still didn’t stand out enough at Kilmarnock. The onus was on him to have another incredible six months in Ayrshire in order to come back to pre-season at Parkhead with real confidence about him.
Whilst his reputation has been restored somewhat with a decent enough stint at Rugby Park last season, it’s not enough. Mulumbu won’t be a first-choice of Lennon’s unless he truly stuns everyone with a spectacular pre-season. But that’s also difficult to foresee as it currently stands.
Turnbull’s potential signing would feel like yet another nudge for Mulumbu towards the Parkhead exit door. Even if the deal is still up in the air, it’s clear the club feels that the likes of Mulumbu won’t be needed.
There could, of course, be midfield departures this season. But you have to imagine the best that would do for Mulumbu is take him up to fourth or fifth choice. It’s still not an enviable role.
If Celtic receive any interest in the midfielder this summer, they’re as well taking it. His chance arrived last season and he failed to grasp it. And if Turnbull signs, that will surely be the final nail in Mulumbu’s coffin.