5 realistic out of contract signings Celtic could acquire for summer rebuild
Undeniably, Celtic will face something of an unprecedented upcoming summer rebuild after an incredibly disappointing season for everyone connected with the club.
Facing the prospect of outgoings in multiple key positions in the next few months, the Hoops may need to explore all avenues of recruitment in order to assemble a squad ready to reclaim the Scottish Premiership title at the first attempt next season.
Intriguingly, out of contract players are becoming a sought-after quantity in the modern game, due to the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on everyone in football at present including Celtic.
Here are five realistic targets the Celts could acquire for free that would strengthen the squad considerably looking ahead to 2021/22.
Concerningly, Celtic could face the prospect of coming into the Champions League second-round qualifiers in July with as little as two fit senior central defenders.
Kristoffer Ajer is widely anticipated to depart the club after five years of service, whilst there is uncertainty over the future of Jack Hendry who is currently excelling on loan at KV Oostende. Coupled with Christopher Julien not being scheduled to return until later in 2021, this would leave just Stephen Welsh and Nir Bitton available for selection against some tricky European opponents.
In need of intervention, Celtic could do a lot worse than earmarking Carter-Vickers as part of their rebuild. Currently on loan at English second-tier side Bournemouth from parent club Tottenham, the USA international could be a long-term replacement for Ajer owing to his similar ball-playing qualities.
Comfortable in possession and strong in the tackle, he would fit the brief for the dominant high-octane style of football Celtic look to execute.
Alongside this, he embodies the business model that the Parkhead hierarchy should be looking to operate going forward. At 23-years-old, his sell-on value will grow with game time which may well lead the Celts to make a substantial profit if they sold him later down the line.
Odsonne Edouard is also rumoured to be leaving Glasgow this summer, so securing a new striker should be at the top of the agenda Celtic agenda striving forward.
Lukas Nmecha may be someone largely unknown to the Celtic support, however that could quickly change depending on the nature of the managerial appointment set to be made in the near future. Intriguingly, Nmecha is currently on loan at Anderlecht from Manchester City and has scored 16 goals from 31 appearances in 2020/21.
Connecting the dots, the Germany Under-21 international is also involved in the Manchester City elite development squad where Celtic linked manager Enzo Maresca is situated.
Clinical in front of goal and capable of linking the play effectively, he would be an excellent addition to the forward line and could become a key player for Celtic should anything materialise.
Underwhelmingly, current goalkeepers Vasilis Barkas, Scott Bain and Conor Hazard have all struggled to nail down the number one spot between the sticks in the last year.
Reportedly rejecting a new contract at Hibernian last week, Ofir Marciano would represent a solid addition to the last line of defence after keeping an impressive 12 clean sheets in 27 Scottish Premiership games so far.
Whether in competition with prospective counterparts or as the main figure in goal, the Israel international would add some much-needed experience and would push his fellow positional competitors to the limit of their capabilities.
Previously linked with arch-rivals Rangers, the 27-year-old would add another dimension to the midfield with his running power and commendable technique.
His pass success rate of 84% would be ideal for the possession-based game Celtic like to play, whereas his ability to successfully win challenges and move the ball on to offensive team-mates can lead to quickly fashioned goalscoring opportunities.
Box to box qualities are something the Celts have missed in the middle of the park recently, obtaining his services would be an intelligent move for everyone concerned.
Since the exit of fans favourite Kieran Tierney to Arsenal in 2019, Celtic have struggled to find a consistent alternative. Most certainly, Tyrick Mitchell would fit the bill if he could be convinced to come north of the border.
After breaking through at English Premier League side Crystal Palace, he has gone on to make 15 appearances in all competitions this season. Unbelievably quick off the mark, he is able to support his team in an attacking sense as well as make recovery challenges from a defensive perspective.
This could suit Celtic in terms of width, whilst providing the 21-year-old with a platform to develop on a high-profile stage. Previously seen with the trajectory of Tierney, playing a part in winning trophies and European nights could set Mitchell’s next move up to be one of the elite sides in England.