The two positions Celtic still need to strengthen before August 31st
Celtic will see their transfer business for the summer come to an end on August 31st as the window shuts for several months.
So far, we can’t turn around and complain about what we’ve been given so far. Kyogo Furuhashi has been an inspiration. Liel Abada is putting in performances way beyond his years. Joe Hart and James McCarthy add huge experience. Not to mention the fact that some of our best players have remained at the club for now.
However, Ange Postecoglou interestingly stated yesterday that he wants a couple more in the door at least. He couldn’t be more right about the need for two further signings either. He needs two more to join the eight he’s already brought to the club.
Dom McKay and the Celtic board will be revelling in the upturn in form. It’s certainly taken some heat off of them this summer. But their work will be monitored closely in the final few days of the window. With only nine remaining, Celtic’s final preparations for the next few months must be completed efficiently.
And with that, it’s important to highlight the two key tasks that sit in front of the football club at the moment. Two pieces of work that simply cannot go incomplete come September 1st.
Celtic need new striker and left-back in before August deadline
Fortunately, Celtic appear to be working hard on one of these issues. A new striker is absolutely essential for rotation this season, regardless of whether Odsonne Edouard goes or not.
Celtic simply can’t rely on Leigh Griffiths. So even if Edouard stays, another centre-forward could be necessary to ensure we have four reliable options available.
Celtic have been linked with both Kevin Nisbet [Peter Martin] and Georgios Giakoumakis [Daily Record] in recent weeks. The hunt is on for another hitman to add to the ranks and join Edouard, Furuhashi, and Ajeti.
If we fail to bring one to the football club, we’re in big trouble should injury strike. Even assuming Edouard stays, goodness knows what Celtic will do if anything happens to Furuhashi. Ajeti would be used as an optimistic replacement more than anything. We wouldn’t have a first-team option that we can actually rely upon to make an impact.
Whilst our strikeforce looks good on paper, we have to take form into account. Griffiths isn’t what he was and looks as though he has no future. Ajeti is struggling and can’t be relied upon. Edouard will go at some stage in the near future with his contract expiring next summer. For stability alone, a centre-forward needs to be at the top of our priority list.
Upgrade on Greg Taylor remains essential
Secondly, and just as concerningly, is the need for a new left-back at Celtic Park.
Postecoglou has had to work with Greg Taylor this summer, and he’s been one of the weakest parts of our team in the early stages of the campaign.
I’m not going to bash the former Kilmarnock man. He puts his heart and soul into every performance for the Hoops. But he hasn’t taken to the inverted fullback role as efficiently as Anthony Ralston has. There’s a reason not many have been talking about Greg in the same manner as Tony.
Even more worryingly is the cover we have for him. Boli Bolingoli hasn’t played a single minute of competitive action this season. Adam Montgomery, meanwhile, is a youngster who has a lot of development that needs to be produced elsewhere before he’s a serious contender.
We’re getting by at the moment, but we need an upgrade on Taylor in the long-term. And that’s why it’s concerning to see that there’s yet to be any serious links to a new left-back whatsoever in recent weeks. It’s one of the positions that Postecoglou doesn’t seem close to strengthening in. Yet if you’re to go through the squad, it’s one of the main emergencies.
Even if the manager likes Taylor and wants to stick with him, we don’t have a solid backup option. There’s nobody there challenging him for his position at the moment. Compare that to the Croatian international Ralston is now up against in Josip Juranovic.
Hopefully, Celtic can pull something out of the hat here. It’s our two biggest concern heading into the final days of the window. A new striker and left-back in the door will see our summer work end with a bang. Over to you Dom.