Have we likely seen the last of Cristian Gamboa at Celtic?

By David Walton

February 4, 2019

Cristian Gamboa’s future at Celtic hasn’t looked great for a long time, but is it safe to say we’ve now seen the last of him?

The Costa Rican right-back has only made seven Celtic appearances this season. Throughout his two-and-a-half year spell at the club so far, he’s only made 25 starts.

But on Sunday, a new right-back started his Celtic career in the form of Jeremy Toljan. He came on for the second half after an injury to Mikael Lustig, and fans were impressed with his impact.

Jeremy Toljan impressed after arriving at McDiarmid Park (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s looking likely that Toljan could now be first-choice, even though Brendan Rodgers hasn’t officially come out and stated it. But, what’s surely certain is that Gamboa has now been pushed back to number four.

He was already behind Lustig and Anthony Ralston before Toljan’s arrival. But whilst no date has been set for Ralston or Lustig’s return as of yet, Gamboa’s time at Parkhead is surely up.

His contract runs out at the end of the season. That’s the same time that Toljan’s Celtic deal comes to an end as he’ll head back to Borussia Dortmund. It’s also the same time Lustig’s contract is up also.

No new deal in sight

No new contract looks in sight for Gamboa in particular, however. He’s done nothing to merit a new deal, and being fourth-choice right-back at 29-years of age isn’t ideal for him.

It’s also important to remember that young American right-back Manny Perez will join up with the squad in the summer. He’s currently on a loan stint with North Carolina FC, after being snapped up by the Hoops in January.

Will Manny Perez (right) push Gamboa down to fifth place (Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Developing him would surely have to be a priority over Gamboa. That could see Perez bumped up to fourth choice when he returns this summer, and the Costa Rican fully out of the picture.

So long as Toljan stays fit, it’s probably safe to say we’ve seen the last of Gamboa. He’s been a good servant, but just hasn’t had the quality when it comes to one-v-one defending to keep his place in the side.

He could easily go back to South America and do well, but it’s looking close to impossible to see a future for him at Parkhead.