Celtic lose Jeremie Frimpong; divisive, but with undeniable potential

By Euan Davidson

January 26, 2021

Celtic were inevitably going to lose a star sometime soon.

Odsonne Edouard changed agents, Ajer had attracted glances from Serie A. And although there had been reported interest: Jeremie Frimpong, you’re breaking our hearts here.

The Dutch youngster may be a frustrating figure at times, but having only signed in 2019, his potential is undeniable. Having made the second-most appearances of any Celtic player this season [WhoScored?], his inevitable departure will leave a massive hole in the first-team.

Yes, his final ball needs work. Certainly, his defensive nous could be improved. But during a spell from December onwards, it’s hard to argue has hasn’t been one of our best players.

For sure, he’s one of the biggest characters at the club. After the 2019 Betfred Cup Final, Frimpong gave supporters one of the best post-match press conferences in living memory.

Seemingly, though, he’s grown frustrated. Neil Lennon has claimed that the youngster “wants out” [Glasgow Live].

For his part, Frimpong hasn’t sounded like himself in recent weeks. This press conference on the 29th of December lacked the usual spark and charisma of his normal offerings. Yet, he’s remained professional and worked relentlessly on the pitch.

Jeremie Frimpong: undoubted potentail / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For Celtic players wanting out, Frimpong could open floodgates

It’s not just Jeremie Frimpong Celtic have to worry about, either.

Karamoko Dembélé looks like he’ll be away in the summer, as suggested by Mark Wilson [Scottish Sun]. Ditto Cameron Harper [Glasgow Live].

Add those names to the already robust links involving Edouard and Ajer, as well as Elhamed, Christie, Brown, Laxalt, Elyounoussi and others. That’s an exodus of biblical proportions.

While some of those are loan players, the situation generally is a scary one for Celtic. Clearly, Neil Lennon is having trouble convincing his stars to remain at Parkhead. Any want-away players could look at Lennon’s own contract situation and wonder which direction the club are heading.

Honestly, can you blame them? A professional football career is short. If Celtic don’t make any moves to progress, then it’s little wonder that our players will feel they’re best getting out. Given the abuse that the board and manager have taken this season, you’d expect them to be a little more proactive.

Yet, here we are. Fans are divided on Frimpong’s talents, but there’s clearly a player with potential there. His movement is excellent, he’s a genuinely entertaining footballer, and he’s still so young. But any development he makes won’t be at Celtic.

And that’s a massive shame. You sense, it’s an avoidable scenario as well. Frimpong’s delight with his debut and his first trophy were genuine. He couldn’t believe his luck at progressing to the first-team, and his energy is infectious.

Neil Lennon cuts a frustrated figure / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Simply put: what’s going on at Celtic?

You have to assume that things behind the scenes are worse than we could realistically predict. With his bundling energy and impressive attitude, it can be assumed that it took something substantial to really anger Frimpong. As Neil Lennon said himself, it’s not a new situation.

Look at our options at right-back:

  1. Hatem Elhamed: wants away, his agent is looking to get him home.
  2. Kristoffer Ajer: not a right-back
  3. Anthony Ralston: so clearly beneath the level of a first-team player at Celtic
  4. Lee O’Connor: on loan at Tranmere, hardly blazing the heather alight
  5. Putting Danny McGrain in a training kit

With so little of the window left, you’d hope there’s a contingency plan here. Given everything we’ve seen this season, though, we doubt it.

This isn’t just bad in itself. It’s a sign of things to come.