The 5 biggest Celtic January sales of recent seasons; where they are now

By Euan Davidson

January 6, 2022

While all the excitement is about who Celtic can bring in this January transfer window – and who they have brought in – it’s also a good chance to prune the squad.

What’s extremely likely is that a few names will head out the door this month.

With a new manager, a new style and new additions being brought into the squad, not every face is going to fit. Already, Ewan Henderson has left for Hibernian.

Liam Shaw is being linked with a move away, and others could follow.

But do Celtic and big-name January departures tend to go hand in hand? Looking back, not entirely, but we have seen some very decent Hoops players leave the club in the Winter window.

What happened to them, and where are they now?

Let’s take a look at the 5 biggest Celtic January sales of recent years, and see how they got on since departing from Paradise.

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Jeremie Frimpong – the biggest Celtic January sale of recent years

There was considerable surprise when Jeremie Frimpong was linked to Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen. Although he had been important for Celtic since arriving from Manchester City in 2019, it seemed very sudden.

And in truth, he probably hadn’t reached the heights of his debut campaign at that point.

But Bayer Leverkusen proceeded to snaffle the talented right-back away from Celtic last January. And to be fair to them, it’s worked an absolute treat for both parties.

Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images

According to the Daily Record, the Hoops bagged an initial £11.5m for the Dutch full-back, and it’s been a bargain for Die Werkself, who faced Celtic in the Europa League this season.

Frimpong has scored twice and set up 7 more in his outings for Leverkusen this season, and he’s even being linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Quite a ride since January of last year for the Holland international then.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Scott Sinclair – a January move made in haste by Celtic?

Scott Sinclair very quickly became a Celtic favourite when he arrived from Aston Villa in the summer of 2016. Scoring on your debut will do that, but he seemingly became more and more reliable as time got on.

That is, until his final season, when he was in and out of the first-team. But even when it was going quiet for Sinclair, he still had a considerable record to loko back on. He’d hit 62 strikes and assisted on 34 occasions in 167 games. That’s quite a legacy to leave.

When he did go, there was disappointment. It felt that, although he’d not been a regular, he could still offer something. Especially with Celtic hardly being spoiled for left-wingers at that time.

When he left in January 2020, it felt a bit like the end of an era for a particular core of players who’d shone under the current Leicester City boss. And Sinclair has continued to be productive post-Celtic.

He’s scored 14 times for Preston North End, who he joined after some convincing from former boss Alex Neil. He departed Parkhead a Treble-Treble winner and a former SPFA Player of the Year [BBC].

Now 32, he’s played 17 times in all competitions for Preston [Transfermarkt].

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Beram Kayal – helped Brighton reach the heights

Remember Beram Kayal?

The Israeli midfielder signed in the heady days of 2010, and spent five years with the Bhoys. In that time, he won 4 Scottish Premiership titles, along with two Scottish Cups. But while he was trusted by Neil Lennon, Ronny Deila didn’t seem to rate the hard-working central midfielder quite as highly.

Halfway through Deila’s first season at Celtic, Kayal was away to Brighton for an undisclosed fee [BBC]. And if it was first-team action he was after, he got it.

Under Chris Hughton, Kayal became a key part of a successful Seagulls team that won promotion to the Premier League for the 17-18 season. They’ve been part of the furniture in England’s top flight ever since, with Kayal playing at least 18 Premier League games in their first two seasons in the highest tier [Transfermarkt].

Unfortunately, though, the first-team opportunities died down. A loan spell with Charlton didn’t do much for him, before he decided to move back home to Israel.

He’s now at Ihud Bnei Sakhnin, where he’s scored 4 and set up 2 in 15 league games [Transfermarkt].

Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Liam Henderson – became a hero elsewhere, then went on fascinating post-Celtic journey

One of the more interesting Scottish players around just now, Liam Henderson has made some courageous and productive choices since departing Celtic.

Another who wasn’t fancied by a new manager, Henderson had broken through from the Celtic Academy. But Brendan Rodgers, who gave Liam’s brother Ewan opportunities at Celtic, didn’t seem to rate the youngster too highly.

Loan spells with Rosenborg and Hibernian, where he won a famous Scottish Cup final, had shown how useful Liam Henderson could be. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t enough for Celtic, and in January 2018 he left for Serie B side Bari [Celtic FC].

Since then, he’s become a really fascinating player to keep a track of. His Italian adventure has taken him to Hellas Verona the summer after joining Bari, to Lecce, and most recently Serie A side Empoli. This season he’s played 20 Serie A games, setting up 4 goals along the way [Transfermarkt].

Interestingly, his younger brother has now joined Hibernian.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Joe Ledley – loved by Celtic fans, but made excellent Premier League contribution

One of Celtic’s best free transfers ever? Joe Ledley, an absolute hero for Wales and in the Green and White of Celtic, was a big-time contributor to an exciting Hoops team.

A winner of 3 Scottish Premiership titles and 2 Scottish Cups, Ledley was there for some fantastic moments. The win over Barcelona, Cup Finals, big Derby goals, you name it. Rugged, but with excellent technique and a cannon of a shot, Ledley was popular at the club from day one.

With 30 goals and 24 assists, Ledley was keen involved in both creating and finishing moves. But he wasn’t particularly good at renewing his contract. Just as Cardiff City had let his deal run down, allowing Celtic to swoop in, Crystal Palace took advantage of his expiring agreement with Celtic.

The Eagles snapped up Welshman Ledley with 6 months to run. For the Bhoys, it was painful, but getting any kind of fee for a player who could’ve left for free was prerogative. On deadline day of January 2014, Ledley made his Premier League move.

It worked out! The 77-cap midfielder was a regular for the South Londoners for three seasons. He stepped down a tier with Derby County in 17-18, before injuries and lack of game-time took their toll. He retired in 2021, at just 34.

Read more: Report: Celtic could look to send potential new signing out on loan immediately