Report: Long-term Celtic target Rekeem Harper set to make Championship move

By Euan Davidson

January 21, 2021

Long-rumoured Celtic target Rekeem Harper is set to join Birmingham City on loan, according to the Birmingham Mail.

Harper, who is contracted to Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, has long been linked with a move to the Bhoys. A rangy, versatile midfielder who can play anywhere across the middle, he’d been on Neil Lennon’s radar since at least 2019.

The Mail has stated that sources have confirmed that Harper will spend the rest of the season across Birmingham. Having only played 31 minutes of Premier League football this season (Transfermarkt), it’s a move that suits him.

Harper made his professional debut in 2017. Celtic were rumoured to have watched him play as many as eight consecutive times back in 2019. Neil Lennon, who was interim manager at the time, went in person to watch the midfielder (Daily Record).

Birmingham Mail hinted that Harper could make the move to City permanent in the summer.

This won’t be a significant blow to Lennon, who has bigger issues to tackle currently.

While Harper is a prospect, his game hasn’t improved massively since Celtic watched him in closer detail. That’s not to say he isn’t a quality player, it’s just that he doesn’t represent an improvement on what we have.

Equally, he hasn’t seen enough first-team action at WBA, who sit second from bottom in the Premier League.

Rekeem Harper scoring for West Brom / (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

Celtic miss out on Rekeem Harper, but is it an issue?

Celtic have already missed out on Alfie Doughty, Mark McKenzie and Filip Benkovic this window. While it’s tempting to look at Rekeem Harper and lament his signing elsewhere, though, it needn’t be the case.

Yes, at 20 years old, Harper has solid potential. In terms of our squad’s priorities, though, a central midfielder is not up there.

With the emergence of Ismaila Soro, Celtic have options in central midfield. Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Nir Bitton, Olivier Ntcham and David Turnbull can all play there. Lower in the pecking order, Luca Connell, Ewan Otoo, Scott Robertson and others will want chances.

So, adding to that list probably isn’t a necessity, for now at least.

The Bhoys’ priorities are still the same. Celtic don’t need Rekeem Harper, necessarily. Reinforcements in goals, at centre-back and on the wings are the main concerns in this window.

A window, by the way, where Celtic keep allegedly swinging for the fences and missing. With not long left until February, we’re anxious to see what the club can actually do in the transfer market.