Celtic have this evening confirmed that the Ismaila Soro deal has been completed subject to a work permit and international clearance.
The midfielder signs a four-and-a-half-year contract at Parkhead after a couple of weeks of waiting on it being announced.
There was some unusual timing about the announcement too. The Hoops were just a couple of hours away from kicking off against Kilmarnock. Then again, it’s not quite as odd as Fraser Forster being announced at half-time of a Europa League qualifier, however.
In any case, the Celtic supporters have been reacting to the news with a mixture of comedy, pessimism, and optimism. Here’s a look at some of that reaction:
Soro has been on the radar for us for a while. Lennon first spoke in early December about wanting to sign the midfielder.
Having watched him, he seems like an exciting prospect for us.
Another one though, who might not yet be the finished article.
— 20 Minute Tims Pod (@20MinuteTims) January 22, 2020
Ismaila Soro is a Celt he was 21 when we started his transfer he's now 33.
— 🏴🇻🇦 (@Boyle_67) January 22, 2020
That's cheeky Celtic springing that wee surprise on us 😁
— Stephen (@stephencl8) January 22, 2020
— AR (@greenandwhyte) January 22, 2020
— Mags6788 (@mags6788) January 22, 2020
Yesssss!!!!! The enforcer we need! Welcome
— Kevin (@Kevinopala1) January 22, 2020
A good signing, looks well suited to our style and the speed of the game here.
— Amos (@as06111) January 22, 2020
Not sure about polish paddy but I think Soro will be a cracker 🍀
— frankie (@SteinJock) January 22, 2020
I hope Soro is the next Kante/Wanyama/etc but let’s face it if Hibs or Aberdeen we’re signing him it wouldn’t be a surprise – and before anyone starts if they’d went for him they’d be quoted a severely reduced price
— Pol MacFhionnghaile 🇮🇪🏴 (@mcginleybhoy) January 22, 2020
Opinions differ on Soro, but can’t be judged anytime soon
It’s great to (just about) get this deal over the line. Obviously there will always be an asterisk until his work permit is secured. However, once that’s done we’ll be good to go.
The challenge facing Soro is monumental. Celtic undoubtedly need dig in the midfield, our shocking display against Rangers proved just that. Soro is hopefully the defensive-midfielder we need to plug that gap. But if he’s going to play, it’s going to come at the expense of either Scott Brown or Callum McGregor in most weeks.
There is no confirmation as of yet from Neil Lennon on his plans for him. Whether he’s another long-term project or a player who can immediately do a job, it still needs answered. If it’s the former, then another midfielder is still essential. The last thing we want to see from our January midfield signing is him immediately dropping down to the development squad.
Then again, he must be given time to impress too. Any negative reaction to his signing is unfair on the player. Not one of us have seen him consistently enough to know whether he’s good enough or not. Just because he isn’t a Victor Wanyama doesn’t mean he can’t make an impact here.
Soro’s signing now means we’ve nabbed our second incoming this January. It can’t be our last. The Hoops still need to find some cover at centre-back given the injury problems we still currently have.
But we have to be satisfied with getting Soro in the door, regardless of the lack of pedigree. Neil clearly likes what he sees, and Victor was proof that having a low profile doesn’t mean you can’t turn into something special.