When Mikael Lustig left Celtic for Gent in the summer, first-team football will have been his main motivation.
The Swede made the switch to Belgium after winning eight-in-a-row with the Hoops and being a key part of countless achievements during his time in Scotland.
It was sad to see him go given what he had provided the club with. It was clear at the time that his quality was lessening as the years went on, and given the fact his contract was coming to an end over the summer time, it seemed the right decision.
However, it unfortunately doesn’t look as though Lustig has managed to make the impact in Belgium that he would’ve hoped for.
Things started out well for him at Gent. He started nine of the club’s first 12 league games and also notched a few assists from right-back. He also started all six of their Europa League qualifying matches and seven of their eight group stage and knockout games (Transfermarkt).
Lack of clean sheets under Gent’s belt
But in 15 of those matches, he was part of a back-line that failed to keep a clean sheet, and it seems as though he’s struggled since November to keep his place in the team permanently.
Since November, Lustig has suddenly only started five of a possible 17 league matches. In their last five games he’s either not been in the squad or occupying a place on Genk’s bench.
Overall he’s played 30 times with the Belgian side since his summer move, with 28 coming from the starting line-up. But given how central he would’ve hoped to have been for Gent, he’ll have surely wanted a lot more than 28 starts come March.
The big Swede has been watching on recently as Alessio Castro-Montes takes his place in the team at right-back. With Castro-Montes also being 22 years of age, it looks as though Lustig could be out of the team due to the longevity his rival offers Gent. Starting seven of their last eight league games (Transfermarkt), the youngster looks in a good place.
So the break could do Lustig some good. The Belgian FA have also shut down football much like the rest of Europe. However, it could help out former man get his mojo back.
Make no mistake, Lustig didn’t go to Genk to sit on the bench. Hopefully, things take another positive turn for him whenever we all start back up again.