3 free agents Celtic could look to pick up after transfer window closure

By Euan Davidson

September 1, 2021

The Hoops have concluded their business this transfer window. unless, that is, Celtic are scanning the free agents market.

Yes, we’re back again. After a Free Agent XI was ruthlessly ignored by the club, there are still plenty of talents available for absolutely nada. And we’re not talking about some Premier League flops, or some semi-retired players on their last legs, either.

There’s some real quality still available at the proverbial Footballing Job Centre. If Ange Postecoglou and Dom McKay feel like filling out the squad just a little more before January, then they can have at it.

Now, this isn’t to say that our summer business was by any means a failure. It wasn’t.

All we’re saying is, there are options. So let’s have a look at three free agents that Celtic could easily find use for.

Milad Mohammadi; a talented left-back Celtic could find use for

Milad Mohammadi and KAA Gent came to a mutual agreement over the Iranian left-back’s contract this summer. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a good player.

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According to Persian Football, it was a lack of football in Belgium that made Mohammadi’s mind up, and other clubs could easily take advantage.

The 27-year-old has amassed a considerable 32 caps for Iran, and has played for two European clubs, with Gent and Russian side Akhmat Grozny on his CV.

Capable of playing on either flank, Mohammadi has attracted interest from English Championship clubs in the recent past. Only last year, according to the Sun, Leeds were considering a £6m move for the Iranian left-back [Sun].

Available at the time of writing, West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest also have reported interest.

As a potential back-up for Greg Taylor, or even as competition, Celtic could do worse here.

Youssef Aït Bennasser – a talented player desperate to kick-start his career

Sometimes, it’s easy to wonder just what happened to make talented players free agents. Does their reputation precede them? Are they injury prone? Too demanding?

In the case of Youssef Aït Bennasser, it’s been a difficult year or two. Signed by Monaco in 2016, the Moroccan international has, time and again, been sent out on loan.

Saint Etienne, Bordeaux, AS Nancy-Lorraine and SM Caen have all had the midfielder on their books. Now, though, he’s a free agent after a legal dispute with his former parent club.

Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

French football authorities sided with Bennasser in his case against AS Monaco, after he claimed that he’d been banished, to the extent that he wasn’t allowed inside the training facilities, by manager Niko Kovac [Get Football News France].

That’s odd, because he’s a decent player. Smarterscout identifies him as a top player in terms of ball recoveries and disrupting opposition moves as a Defensive Midfielder.

When given opportunities, Aït Bennasser is a prolific ball-winner from midfield. In the 18-19 season at Monaco, he averaged 2.5 tackles per 90 [WhoScored?]. He’s also a very decent passer of the ball, averaging 83% pass accuracy across his career.

A free agent pal for Josip Juranovic? Croatian international Dario Melnjak might suit Celtic need

Yes, another international player available for nothing this summer. How strange the market has become over recent years.

With 8 caps for Croatia, left-back Dario Melnjak finds himself without a club. Despite starring for Caykur Rizespor, where he’d made a home for himself and his family [Hurriyet Daily News], Juranovic’s international teammate is available for nothing.

Much like a left-sided version of Juranovic, Melnjak can play further up the left flank, or in either centre-back slot. Again, it’s versatility Celtic could use, from the free agents pool of 2021.

Photo by Luka Stanzl – Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images

Not only that, the 28-year-old outperforms in terms of goals and assists. At Caykur Rizespor, the left-back scored 7 and set up 9 over three seasons. Previously, with NK Domzale, Melnjak was a force, scoring 10 and setting up 5 in just over 50 outings [Transfermarkt].

Given the lack of confidence many supporters have in Greg Taylor – rightly or wrongly – and the lack of action Bolingoli is likely to see this season, a player like Melnjak could be a genuinely useful addition.

Already experienced playing with Juranovic, and a Croatian international, it’s a mystery as to why nobody’s picked him up yet.

Read more: New Bhoy will play pretty much anywhere