So Napoli have today been linked with Jeremy Toljan according to Corriere Dello Sport via the Daily Record.
I’m sure I won’t be the only Celtic fan that doesn’t shed a tear over thoughts of the German going.
The general train of thought when Toljan joined in January was that we would be lucky to keep him beyond the summer. It seemed like one of those deals that were just fortunate to get over the line.
After all, this was a player who made 27 appearances for Dortmund last season. A player whom the current Bundesliga title contenders were extremely fond of after bringing him in. Just having him at Parkhead would’ve likely been seen as a coup by many.
Celtic even played the game on deadline day too. They waited right until the final moments of the window to get Toljan in the door. It was the deal Celtic needed to get done to improve on Mikael Lustig at right-back.
Yet, incredibly, Brendan Rodgers managed to go out and find a right-back who, if he isn’t worse than Lustig, he certainly hasn’t been an improvement.
Debut joy soon waned
Sections of the support enjoyed his debut at St Johnstone. He looked fairly composed on the ball and got into good areas. But it was the 11 appearances afterward that showed him up for being a relatively average full-back.
Toljan always looked hesitant to bomb beyond James Forrest. When he did, his crossing was extremely poor. He did manage one assist at Easter Road, by simply passing a square ball to Forrest who rifled in from 25 yards or so. It was hardly sensational from the German.
He’s never looked defensively sound either. On the rare occasions he’s had one-v-one battles against players like Niall McGinn, for example, they got joy off of him. Perhaps he’s not as slow or defensively prone to errors as Lustig was in the first half of the season, but he certainly has been no improvement with his all-round game.
Toljan also cost us in Valencia with his cheap first-half red card. In big games like that, we need our big signings to step up.
Perhaps we just didn’t bear with him enough. Maybe Lennon dropping him after the trip to Dundee was unfair. There simply must be more to Toljan if he played so consistently last season and is apparently impressing Napoli.
But in 12 appearances we’ve yet to see it. News of him departing won’t make many Celtic supporters bat an eyelid. He was never one we were going to go for permanently – that much is surely certain.