Celtic's first priority in the transfer market this summer is clear

By David Walton

May 24, 2021

We all know that Celtic have an absolute power of work to get through in the summer transfer market.

We have to sign players for almost every position in the starting XI. When we took a look at what was required earlier this month, our analysis indicated that as many as 13 could be needed in order for us to have cover in every area.

Of course, the club’s first priority will be to get the new manager officially announced. They’ll then look to sort out all of his coaching staff and recruitment team for what will hopefully be a successful era ahead for the football club.

However, what area of the squad should take precedence when we finally get round to recruitment? Is it a replacement for Odsonne Edouard? Perhaps a new left-winger to finally give us an attacking outlet on that flank? Or perhaps a right-back so that we have a senior one on board for the Champions League qualifiers.

Sure, all of these are essential, with some more important than others. But the most important thing Celtic can do when they kickstart their rebuild? Sort out the centre-back situation.

Shane Duffy is gone. Kristoffer Ajer is a sure-fire cert to depart too. Christopher Jullien won’t be back until August at the earliest [Scottish Sun]. That’s three senior centre-backs that would’ve been available last season either not at the club or injured.

Celtic have much to do in the transfer market this summer

Celtic’s failure to sign a centre-back in January has left us in this position. Not wrapping up a pre-contract deal for Ben Davies makes this position a massive necessity ahead of the summer.

We probably even need to sign two centre-backs before our late-July Champions League second qualifying round begins. Remember, we’ll be in action as soon as July 20th or 21st. And in one of our biggest matches of the season.

Can you honestly say you would be happy going in with Nir Bitton and Stephen Welsh at the back for the second qualifying round? When we could potentially be facing a Europa League group-stage quality side? No thanks. Immediate work is needed, and we’re not talking about a week or two before the game either.

No more Nir Bitton in Champions League qualifying please / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic need to get centre-backs in the door from the word go. Using the pre-season friendly schedule to get them integrated, albeit to a minimal extent, needs to be the plan. We simply cannot afford to either go into the tie with the centre-backs we currently have or throw one or two in for their debuts.

In recent years we’ve gone down that route of being unprepared at the back. We’ve often had to shoehorn Bitton into the team in particular. Unsurprisingly, it’s barely worked out for us and we continue to leak goals as much as anyone in Euro qualifying.

Not having a settled backline plays a key role in that. It’s the first thing we need to sort out when the new manager is announced. No excuses.

In other news, Everton are scheduled to have a meeting to discuss Celtic-linked Josh King’s future.