Why Celtic should go back in for versatile Tottenham defender Japhet Tanganga

By Euan Davidson

May 8, 2021

After the Celtic/Ben Davies rigmarole in January of this year, the Hoops needed more defensive options.

Of course, we ended up with just Jonjoe Kennedy. No centre-backs came in, and Stephen Welsh made a mark as a result. Welsh has, of course, had a fine start to life in the first-team proper, primarily under John Kennedy. However, Celtic will absolutely need more bodies in defence, and it’s worth remembering the name Japhet Tanganga.

We might all be sick of loan deals, sure. Especially this season, and especially in defence. Laxalt, Duffy and Kenny have all had – at best – mixed campaigns for the Bhoys since arriving temporarily. That’s not to say, though, that it’s a concept worth abandoning entirely.

The successes of Jason Denayer and Filip Benkovic are oft-forgotten, but both were Premier League loanees who were more than capable in central defence for Celtic. Tanganga could be a similar prospect. The Bhoys were linked to a loan deal on the 1st of February.

Japhet Tanganga of Tottenham Hotspur / (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Quantity, as well as quality needed for Celtic; Tottenham prospect could still be a decent shout

Despite enjoying praise from Jose Mourinho [BBC], Tanganga has barely featured for Spurs. He’s mustered just over 700 minutes this season [Transfermarkt], hardly the valuable game-time needed at 22. You’d have to assume that, from watching his brief appearances and from the acclaim of a top-class manager, the centre-back has something about him.

While again, Celtic supporters are sick of loans, we need to be realistic about the scale of the rebuild. Yes, the Bhoys absolutely need to splash the cash, but quantity and quality are important here. There are plenty of free agent options available on the market, and sensible loan deals to bulk our numbers would be beneficial.

Across a tumultuous season, the Celtic squad looked absolutely knackered. Injuries were a constant concern, with players being used out of position, or formations having to change entirely. That lack of rhythm contributed to bad results, and our first-team looked notably thin throughout.

Tanganga, then, seems like the kind of player we need. A versatile defender who can play either centre-back position, and in both full-back roles, he needs experience. Tottenham Hotspur surely want him to properly develop, but there’s no real chance of first-team action for him just yet. Not on a regular basis, anyhow.

Capped at every youth level for England, Tanganga is a talent, but he needs a chance. Just as much as Celtic need to consider fleshing out a squad which lacks depth at centre-back. He’s a name Celtic reportedly pursued, and it would surely suit all parties to go back in.

READ MORE: Celtic youngsters suffer promotion heartache on loan