With the transfer window opening in less than two months, Neil Lennon and Nick Hammond are no doubt already thinking about what kind of business Celtic can get up to during what will be a hectic January.
The Hoops haven’t always had the best of January windows. However, with 10 in a row on the line it is vital that the Celtic staff and board get it right this time.
With that in mind we present Celtic’s five point plan for the January transfer window:
1. Turn down any bids for heroic Scottish duo
You have to imagine that there will be plenty of interest in the duo of Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie after their heroic displays for Scotland against Serbia. There has been interest in the players in the past, with the likes of Leicester and Nice mentioned in dispatched.
However, both players are massively important to the current Celtic side. The duo are mainstays of the team. Selling either player would be a real kick in the teeth for the Hoops support. With that in mind, any bids for the duo must be turned down, no matter how many millions are offered from France, or England, or wherever.
2. Buy a right-sided attacker
Normally you would say that Celtic are well-stocked for attacking players. The team has scored plenty of goals this season. However, there is a problem on the right-wing, where James Forrest is out until at least January, and Mikey Johnston is making a tentative return to the side after being out for almost the entire calendar year.
Therefore, it would make sense for the Hoops to sign a player that could play on the right-side, to provide competition to the duo. One player that could be an option is Hibernian’s Martin Boyle. He is well-known to Neil Lennon from their time at Easter Road, and the 27-year-old could be worth making a move for.
3. Loan out the fringe players
This seems quite obvious to any Celtic fan, but the first-team squad can seem quite bloated at times. There are too many players that are not getting anywhere near first-team football. They would benefit from trying their luck at other sides for a spell.
The likes of Ewan Henderson and Conor Hazard, who don’t seem close to making the first-team should be allowed to leave on loan in the January window. The likes of Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull, who have made first-team appearances should be kept on. They seem closer to making the first-team than the likes of Hazard and Henderson.
4. Offer a new contract to Kristoffer Ajer
There are a few Celtic players whose contracts expire in 2022, but one that is worth examining in closer detail is centre-back Kristoffer Ajer. The Norwegian has arguably been Celtic’s best player in defence this season. That deserves to be rewarded with a new deal.
Not only would it give the player a welcome pay-rise, but it would likely also end the interest from Milan. They have been linked with the player for a while now. Celtic are a much better team with Ajer in the side. The Hoops must pull out all the stops to ensure that he remains at the club for the battle to win 10 in a row and beyond.
5. Focus more on permanent rather than loan deals
Celtic have had an up and down history with loan deals recently. The likes of Mo Elyounoussi and Fraser Forster have to be considered a success. Shane Duffy has so far disappointed and the likes of Oliver Burke and Tim Weah faded after a bright start.
From now on, unless it is in exceptional circumstances, the Hoops should focus on permanent deals. It is annoying not to know if a player will be staying at the club for the longer term for fans, so imagine how annoying it must be for Neil Lennon not to know if Elyounoussi will be at Celtic Park next season, for example. Loan players do give their all, but they often aren’t showing commitment by signing with the club permanently. Celtic should stick to signing players ready to give their next few years to the club.
In other news, some Celtic fans want the club to sign Declan Gallagher.