Ange Postecoglou's new signing luxury is fine reward for trust in much-improved Celtic talent
Of all the priority positions for recruiting this transfer window, arguably none were as critical as left-back.
Greg Taylor has been one of the most consistent players for Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic, adapting near-seamlessly to the inverted full back role.
The 24 year old’s reading of the game and positional awareness have been critical to the team’s success, and arguably no other player has reaped the rewards of buying into the manager’s philosophy more than Taylor.
However, he was also the only regular first team left back at the club last season, with Josip Juranovic most often having to deputise in the Scotland international’s absence – it was essential that Celtic recruited appropriate cover.
Hammarby’s Iraq international full-back Mohanad Jeahze was frequently linked but Taylor’s reliability allowed the club to roll the dice on a riskier option, choosing a less first team-ready player with more immediate downsides, but a much higher potential ceiling, in Alexandro Bernabei.
Fans have already been afforded a glimpse of the Argentine’s explosive pace and driving vertical runs in the friendly matches so far, and his ability from set pieces should offer an offensive dimension that Celtic have often lacked in recent seasons.
The club have invested heavily in Bernabei, in all likelihood with a view to him eventually superseding Taylor as first choice, but he is merely 21 and will need time to adapt both on the pitch, and off it.
In this regard, there is no rush.
Taylor’s presence means Bernabei has time to adapt at Celtic
Upon Postecoglou’s protracted move from Japan last summer, there was little time for adaptation or protracted tactical planning, the players remaining after the close season exodus were forced to sink or swim with barely a month between the manager’s arrival and the first competitive game against Midtjylland.
This will not be the case for Bernabei, who can be carefully brought up to speed across Celtic’s first summer without Champions League qualifiers in over decade and beyond.
Despite news of the Argentina U-23 international’s ban for a red card in his final game for Lanus not carrying over to the Scottish Premiership, it should not sway the manager’s decision to stick with Taylor for the league season’s curtain raiser against Aberdeen at Celtic Park on the 31st of July.
Bernabei’s time will undoubtedly come, but with Taylor in situ, Celtic can afford to ease him in.