Lennon open to signing more project players for Celtic in January

By David Walton

December 30, 2020

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted that he’s looking at potentially adding some project players to the club next month.

It’s looking like being a quiet window for the club with the squad looking pretty strong as it is. Celtic’s main goal will undoubtedly be to keep their top stars in Glasgow until the end of the season.

However, the one key area of the squad needing bolstered is at right-mid. James Forrest is still injured and will still be without genuine competition when he does come back.

But Lennon has disclosed that the club is also looking at more projects. These are players that are signed for the long-term with a view to developing them over several years before selling on for a tidy profit.

As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Lennon said: “Yes, that’s an area we may look at. But it would have to be right for us.

“The player would have to be good enough to be here and there would have to be value in him down the line. But it’s difficult at the minute because you can’t actually go and see players live. That’s been a real difficult thing for myself and my recruitment team for nearly a year.

“So you are doing a lot of analysis on video work and it’s not ideal. But that’s an area that we’re obviously concentrating on as well. We are always looking at a player if one that we like comes up at the right sort of money.”

Celtic have had a mixed bag from project signings in recent years

It’s fair to say that, as a club, Celtic have struggled to an extent to reap the rewards they did between 2011 and 2014 when it comes to project signings.

Big-money departures such as Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama, and Virgil van Dijk have been the highlights of this police. However, there have been a lot of them that haven’t worked out. Plenty you likely won’t remember either.

Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde, Rabiu Ibrahim, Rami Gershon, Pawel Brozek, Jo Inge Berget, Andre Blackman, Eboue Kouassi, Marian Shved, Vakoun Bayo. These are all just random project selections over the last seven years that haven’t worked out.

Ismaila Soro looks a terrific find for Celtic (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Of course, the likes of Patryk Klimala and Ismaila Soro are both showing promise. They were both signed by Lennon back in January. So the last couple he did manage to recruit have impressed.

When it comes to project signings it can be a mixed barrel. There are always going to be more flops than there will be diamonds. That’s just the nature of things. But it’s down to Celtic and Lennon’s recruitment team to get this right.

January may well be a quiet window, but don’t expect it to pass without a single signing coming through the door. It’ll just be interesting to see who that signing will be.

In other news, Lennon’s recruitment has been absolutely slammed by a former Celtic defender.