UEFA Europa League regulations could lead two new Celtic signings to miss out on the squad for the last-32 of the competition.
Neil Lennon said before heading out to Dubai that he wanted to bring four players to the club in January (Daily Record). It remains to be seen who comes into the club in the mid-season window too.
However, UEFA regulations interestingly state that only three new players can be added to squads for the latter stages of the competition (UEFA, page 41). The guidelines also state that if the addition of three new players takes List A beyond 25, the club must take the relevant number of players out of the squad.
Lennon has already stated that Jeremie Frimpong will be included in the last-32 squad (Sunday Post). Therefore, that only leaves two spots for new players. Doing the math, that means two of Neil’s apparent four new signings could have to sit out of European competition.
What about replacing players who’ve been sold?
Interestingly, it doesn’t say anywhere in UEFA’s guidelines about being able to replace players who have been sold. Celtic have already allowed Scott Sinclair to join Preston, whilst Lewis Morgan is closing in on a switch to the USA. Both were part of our squad for the group stages.
UEFA rules don’t explicitly state that these spots can be replaced by new signings. However, it’ll be interesting to see if that’s a potential loophole that Celtic could use.
But it’s important to stress that the official rules state that a maximum of three new signings can be brought into the squad for the latter stages. It remains to be seen who joins Frimpong on that list.
Celtic are close to completing the signing of Patryk Klimala, with the striker in Glasgow for a medical (Daily Mail). Given the importance of his signing, it would surely be wise to put him into the squad for our clash against Copenhagen.
One real area of concern for Neil Lennon may be the right-mid position too. There isn’t one player in the Europa League squad who can fill in for James Forrest. That’s a potential area Neil could look to cover for our last-32 meeting also.
Regardless, hopefully we’re well prepared for the February 3rd deadline. The club could do with an injection of freshness in any case.