Why Roberts to Celtic would be a January game-changer

By David Walton

December 16, 2020

So I’ll nail my colours to the mast on this one – Patrick Roberts to Celtic would be a game-changer.

Let’s get one thing clear – no deal is imminent. The latest update on him is that he’s due to have vital talks with loan club boss Neil Warnock. This is said to be due to a lack of opportunities in the first-team (Northern Echo).

There’s no guarantee his loan stint from Man City will be cut short. But make no mistake, things are looking grim for him. Roberts hasn’t started for the Championship side since October. Bagging game-time continues to be a problem.

So it’s clear things aren’t going great. That, naturally, will have plenty of supporters questioning why he would be a good fit for Celtic. Personally I’ve gone over this in the past on several occasions, but for me it’s simple.

We know what Roberts is capable of. We know he can produce against Scottish Premiership opposition and look a cut above it. Let’s not forget how easily he destroyed Rangers at Ibrox when they were under Pedro Caixinha.

"Carl Starfelt to Celtic is a big possibility" | Swedish journalist Anel Avdić

He was so impressive under Ronny Deila and even more so under Brendan Rodgers. Roberts left Parkhead with 44 goals and assists in 78 appearances (Transfermarkt). Not a bad haul indeed.

His final season at Parkhead was tarnished by injuries, but that’s not something that’s affected him this season. Warnock simply isn’t playing him, and it can’t be fitness related either.

Roberts has been consistently available for Middlesbrough. He should be able to play if called upon. So it’s not as a lack of fitness or overwhelming injury problems should be holding him back.

If he signs then it could be a game-changer for the title-race. He would add an element of pace, creativity, and directness that we’re missing down the right. Outside of James Forrest we’ve missed a natural right-winger out there. Jeremie Frimpong will come good there if pushed hard enough, but he still has to work on his final ball.

For me this is just a no-brainer. If Roberts is sent back to City we could do with ringing them up and seeing if he’s available. Roberts’ deal in Manchester also runs out in 2022, which means we could nab him on a cut-price deal if he was to impress.

Middlesbrough winger Patrick Roberts – time for a Celtic return? (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Of course it’s all in Middlesbrough’s hands for now. Warnock may want to persist with him. After all, he did sign him just several months ago. It would still be a surprise if he was happy for him to depart.

But it’s been a talking point for the Celtic fans today, and it’s fair to say there’s a split there:



 In other news, it’s time to dismiss one transfer rumour before it even begins.