Everything Ange Postecoglou needs before Celtic summer work is complete

By David Walton

July 22, 2021

Ange Postecoglou has kicked off his reign as Celtic manager with the most hectic summer imaginable.

He’s come in after the shambles that was last season with a massive rebuild necessary. He’s had to make decisions on his backroom staff and analyse what areas of the squad he needs to improve. Not to mention a quick-fire trip to Wales that occurred only days after he arrived in Scotland.

All the while he’s been trying to plan for UCL qualifiers and the start of the Premiership. Not to mention handle the speculation over the player departures.

What we were all willing to accept at the beginning of the summer is that the rebuild was never going to be finalised before the transfer deadline of August 31st. But the work done this summer still had to be substantial.

We’ve made some good progress already. Kris Ajer is out the door whilst Carl Starfelt, Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, Osaze Urhoghide, Bosun Lawal, and Liam Shaw have come in. The latter trio, of course, looking like ones for the future.

Celtic’s exciting right-back links are cause for real optimism

So that’s effectively three first-team players having been signed up. There’s no denying all three are exciting.

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Yet when you look at the Celtic squad, there is still plenty to do. So much of the focus will be on the club’s next target. But instead, let’s take a look at absolutely everything that needs done before the window closes:

Ange Postecoglou needs five more Celtic players before summer work is complete

There is so much debate about the goalkeeping position. However, regardless of whether Celtic are on the lookout for a new number one or number two, we need another in.

There is no way we can rely on Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain, and Conor Hazard. Not when you count the mistakes all three made combined last season. Barkas’ horror moment against Midtjylland will also have fans concerned.

Celtic were said to be looking at Mat Ryan before he left for Real Sociedad [Sky Sports]. That suggests the Hoops are on the lookout for a shot-stopper. Don’t be surprised if that’s one of the next imminent signings.

Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/SNS Group via Getty Images

Of course, there’s only one position that should take top priority at the moment – right-back.

Celtic fans have had to watch Anthony Ralston in pre-season and against Midtjylland. If we go through in the UCL, we’re sorry to say that it will be in spite of the current first-choice right-back.

If Celtic had done their job properly in January, Ralston wouldn’t be anywhere near the picture here. He’s simply there by default. Should we get beyond Midtjylland, we can’t afford to go into a potential clash against the likes of PSV with Anthony in there.

Celtic also have Lee O’Connor in reserve, but he’s yet to be entrusted by the manager. It’s clear we need much better quality there, and the recent links to George Baldock and Brandon Soppy are a sign the club knows it too [Daily Record].

Full-backs the main concern for Celtic

You also can’t say we’re comfortable at left-back either. Boli Bolingoli is back at the club but he suffered a poor debut season before the disaster that was his Covid breach. Speaking on a purely playing basis, the Belgian isn’t good enough.

We know what we’re getting with Greg Taylor too. He’s dependable and a great squad option. Is he a first-choice Celtic left-back? You would struggle to admit that, and thus a higher-quality option is needed.

Postecoglou looks to have enough tools in central midfield for now, with Abada strengthening the right-wing position too. However, down the other flank, we’re left with a sorry sight.

Mikey Johnston is the only available left-winger at Parkhead. Not to mention he’s injured. As things stand, Postecoglou has no out and out option to play on that flank.

Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images

Ryan Christie appeared to take up the role against Midtjylland, but that can’t be a permanent solution. Celtic haven’t replaced Mohamed Elyounoussi, and it’s not a position we can leave without options. It’s far too important to our attacking plans.

One more striker a must

Then we come to the centre-forward position. For me, this one is simple.

Celtic need two strikers for either spot. If you want to go with a two-striker system regularly, which is an option the manager would like to have, then there has to be sufficient cover. We seem to have that at the moment with Odsonne Edouard, Albian Ajeti, Leigh Griffiths, and Furuhashi respectively.

However, Edouard looks a cert to leave before the window closes. It would be a major surprise if he stays on. Not to mention that Ajeti has still to seriously prove himself.

If Edouard does depart, that will be both he and Patryk Klimala having departed with only one being replaced. Postecoglou needs to be given some backing up the top end of the pitch, with another centre-forward a necessity so that we have sufficient depth.

All of this could change depending on whatever other first-team stars are sold. But for now, Postecoglou needs to be given five more recruits to push Celtic’s summer work over the line.

That will tick us over nicely until January, when the rebuild must continue. For now, however, it’s simply all about getting cover in key positions and ensuring we aren’t so reliant on youngsters.

In other news: Report: Arsenal and West Ham put off by Celtic target Josh Doig’s valuation