Ismaila Soro must end Celtic decline after being linked with Tottenham 6 months ago

By David Walton

October 13, 2021

It’s time to address the Ismaila Soro Celtic decline as we continue to await the Ivorian returning to the form that had him at the peak of his powers yesterday.

Soro broke into the Celtic team under Neil Lennon back in December 2020. He injected much-needed freshness into the midfield with his aggression, drive, and composure when in possession. He we would often press high and intercept the ball at will, making an instant impression on the Celtic support.

It wasn’t even much of a surprise when he was being linked with Tottenham Hotspur back in April. The Daily Mail reported back then that Spurs were monitoring the former Bnei Yehuda player.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, Soro stayed put with no offer coming his way. He looked like being a key part of the Ange Postecoglou revolution in pre-season too as we looked for our Scott Brown replacement.

Yet all we’ve gotten since has been a bizarre, rapid decline of form and quality. The Ivorian midfielder has, quite simply, been all over the place this term. Up against the likes of Nir Bitton and James McCarthy for minutes, he’s generally been frozen out of the starting XI. Soro has managed 15 appearances all in this season, but only 5 have come from the starting line-up [Transfermarkt].

But there’s a reason for it. Almost everything that Soro thrived at last season he’s struggled to replicate this term.

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Celtic midfielder Ismaila Soro is nowhere near the levels we know he can reach

Soro’s aggression, for example, now isn’t being channeled in the right manner. Whilst his timing of the tackle and interception was spot on last term, he’s now simply barging into opposition players and giving cheap fouls away. It constantly breaks our momentum and gives the opposition encouragement.

As well as that, his passing ability appears to have waned. Whilst he used to make short, accurate passes that spread the ball around well, we aren’t seeing that anymore. Instead, he’s constantly giving the ball away and looking a lot more careless in possession.

You then have the fact that, positionally, he appears to be far too reckless this season. Despite generally being a defensive-midfielder, Soro is too often pushing forward and leaving gaps in his area.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

There’s a reason supporters get a touch concerned when Soro starts or comes on from the bench. The same reason the manager simply won’t entrust him to be in his strongest XI.

There’s undoubtedly a player in Soro. You don’t reach the levels he has and make the impression he did on the Celtic support without having genuine quality. But for some reason it isn’t being channeled correctly. Whether that’s the player or manager’s fault is anyone’s guess. But it needs sorting.

At the minute, he’s in selection limbo. Not where he wanted to be heading into the 2021/22 campaign. Let’s see if he can pick things up after the international break and rediscover the form that had links to the EPL emerging.

In other news, Exclusive: Scott McDonald backing James McCarthy to be a Celtic success despite “contentious rumours”