Mikael Lustig reportedly wasn't offered a new Celtic deal
Mikael Lustig’s departure from Celtic looks to be inevitable, after the Daily Record’s report on it earlier today.
The newspaper claims that the Swede is set for a medical in Belgium with Genk today. A departure would signal an end to a highly successful seven-and-a-half years in Glasgow.
But the reason for his departure is a tad eye-brow raising too. The Record have claimed that Lustig wasn’t actually offered a new contract. Instead, they believe that Neil Lennon wants to lay down a marker and put his own stamp on the squad.
So what makes that so surprising? Well, that would be a different tune to what Lennon was singing at the end of the season. The Celtic manager, then interim boss, claimed that he would love to keep Lustig if he stayed on permanently. (Scottish Sun).
Lustig, of course, has been a bit more cryptic than Lennon over the last couple of weeks. He stated last week that Celtic didn’t deal with his closing stages well enough (The Herald). It all hinted towards him being sent out the door.
A change of heart from the gaffer?
First and foremost, this is the correct decision from Celtic. Lustig’s time in Glasgow should be up, and he should be thanked for the service he’s given the club over the last seven-and-a-half years.
But it also perhaps points to a change of heart from Lennon. What would make the manager want to keep Lustig at the club, and then weeks later decide that he shouldn’t get a contract? It’s highly unlikely the board would just go against Lennon’s wishes, so it’s safe to say this was the manager’s decision. It had to be.
Another possibility could’ve been that informal talks led to Celtic telling Lustig that he wouldn’t be first choice for next season. After all, if he stayed on, it simply had to be as back-up. There are no reports to back any of that up, however.
But this is a positive move regardless. Lustig will hopefully continue being a success at Genk, should he complete his move there. He deserves to prolong his playing career at a level he’s capable of doing so, and hopefully, Belgium provides that for him.
And if this is a decision that’s come from Lennon, here’s hoping we’re about to see some big work done in the right-back position.