Youssouf Mulumbu’s departure from Celtic looks close to inevitable, but the club would be making a big mistake.
The powerful midfielder only joined the club over the summer. Since then, the former Kilmarnock man has made only three competitive first-team appearances at Parkhead.
That alone is quite ridiculous considering the talent that Mulumbu possesses.
He’s powerful, doesn’t shirk challenges, and is composed in possession. He spreads play around well, and has plenty of energy on him. In other words, probably the kind of midfielder Celtic needed at Ibrox on December 29th.
Unfortunately, his brief cameo in a tough Europa League match against RB Leipzig hasn’t helped him. He twice gave the ball away late on and nearly cost Celtic their huge 2-1 win.
But that’s hardly a stick to beat Mulumbu over the head with. It was his first appearance in over a month and only his third in total. In the previous two matches against Salzburg and Kilmarnock that he featured in, he was impressive. Not a standout, but impressive regardless.
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He was one of the only ones to come away from the 3-1 Salzburg defeat with plaudits. He has stood up to be counted on his few appearances in a Celtic jersey, and deserves more game-time in a struggling midfield.
Brendan Rodgers stated that Mulumbu was brought in just as “support to the team”. That’s unfair, as he offers something both valuable and different to any of Celtic’s others midfielders.
Letting him leave the club on loan would be removing some real power from Celtic’s midfield.
On too many occasions this season, Celtic have been bullied. Against the likes of Hearts, Hibs, and Rangers, the Hoops midfield has been powderpuff. Olivier Ntcham in particular has seriously struggled to deal with energetic midfield competition. Easter Road and Ibrox have been proof of that.
Mulumbu doesn’t only deserve to stay, he deserves the chance to prove himself. He’s a quality footballer, and is being allowed to leave for no real reason.
It’s a shame that the club don’t feel the same way. No matter where Mulumbu goes this month, expect him to be a massive success.