Without doubt, Celtic have had some brilliant servants to the club over the last decade.
Moving into a new era, Celtic may need to cut their wage bill as the anticipated summer turnover at Parkhead begins. The Hoops are set to face multiple senior exits from the club in the next few months amid mass change in Glasgow.
Indisputably, this will prompt supporters to question who should stay put or leave for pastures new.
One man who will be in the discussion is Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton. Acquired from Ashdod in 2013, it is something of a surprise he has remained at the Hoops for so long.
A cultured player, the 29-year-old has gone on to rack up a whopping 232 appearances in Glasgow’s East End [Transfermarkt]. Though a player of evident class, his injury problems have seen his contribution severely limited over the last three seasons.
Bitton has not featured near enough for Celtic in the last few years
Diminishing returns is a phrase that can apply to the Israel international in recent years. Over the last three campaigns, he has only managed to play in 34 Scottish Premiership matches [Transfermarkt].
Ultimately, Celtic need players who are able to play more games of football per year than most European sides.
Fundamentally, Bitton is way too injury-prone to regularly be involved for the Hoops. Celtic could surely utilise what will be a healthy wage by bringing in a more consistent performer. And there’s already been reported interest in his services from back home in Israel too [Scottish Sun].
Coming up to 30-years-old this October, his sell-on value is diminishing and the Bhoys should consider cutting their losses. Needing fresh blood in 2021/22, younger players are needed to bring back an intensity that has been lacking recently.
There is also the issue of where he is best situated on the field of play. A central midfielder by trade, the Israeli has been used at centre-back since 2017. Although capable of deputizing for Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien, he was on the receiving end of a deserved red card against Rangers in January [BBC Sport]. Denying a goal-scoring opportunity, you have to question if the foul would’ve been committed by a natural centre-half.
Contractually, Bitton will be at Celtic until 2023, favouring his chances of gaining an opening under a new manager. No matter what happens, he has been a fantastic player who has been loyal to Celtic through good and bad.