The dynamite duo that could solve long-standing Celtic transfer problem

By David Walton

May 12, 2021

When it comes to Celtic and their transfer issues over the years, perhaps nothing has been more frustrating that winger situation.

Celtic have tried to sort out their left-sided issues in the past, granted. Mohamed Elyounoussi has been signed on loan in both of the last two summer windows to compete with Mikey Johnston. However, not having a permanent, injury-free left winger has been a real issue for some time.

What’s going on down the right-flank, however, is even more concerning. Celtic haven’t had anyone capable of taking over from James Forrest since Patrick Roberts was here back in the 2017/18 season. Since then, we’ve happily gone through campaign after campaign without securing a back-up or alternative. This year it caught up with us as Forrest was sidelined for most of the season and Celtic struggled for creativity down the right.

Here, we take a look at two potential dynamite options who could solve our problems down either side:

1. Left-wing: Takuma Asano

Takuma Asano – a free agent since leaving Partizan Belgrade (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

This is one Celtic should be all over as we look to hopefully secure a permanent left-winger this summer.

Asano has just come off a simply ridiculous season stats-wise with Partizan Belgrade. The Japanese international rattled home a stunning 21 goals and bagged 10 assists. All this whilst playing out on the flank [Transfermarkt].

Granted, you could say Asano has more joy as a right-winger cutting in onto his more dangerous left-foot. But throughout his career he’s naturally been a left-sided player. He also has a wealth of experience to his name too – plying his trade in three different countries.

In his 24 caps for Japan, Asano has eight direct goal contributions. His pace and final ball could do real damage in Scottish football, as he plays with a directness that we’ve badly lacked on either side.

At 26, he’s also set to come into his prime years as a footballer. And the best part? He’s absolutely free after his contract with Belgrade was ripped up over issues regarding the payment of his salary [Kyodo News].

This is the kind of player Celtic should be looking at after Asano showed this season what he’s truly capable of. After three years in the Bundesliga followed by his blockbuster campaign this term, Asano is on the hunt for his next club. There’s no reason why Celtic shouldn’t be in the mix for him.

2. Right-wing – Alberth Elis

Alberth Elis celebrates after netting in Porto (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

This was a player that should’ve been signed up at Celtic last summer. Elis was with Houston Dynamo in the MLS when he stated that he had been asking Emilio Izaguirre to recommend him to Parkhead [Daily Record].

Instead, we twiddled our thumbs as he went to Boavista. And his debut year has been one of the most difficult for the Portuguese club in some time.

As things stand, they’re battling relegation and only have a couple of games in which to save their skins. But that hasn’t meant that Elis hasn’t been having a decent season on a personal note.

Eight goals and six assists in 30 appearances isn’t bad considering Boavista’s situation [Transfermarkt]. He’s shown he has the ability to adapt to a massive change in football and culture after previously bagging 63 direct goal contributions with Houston in the USA.

Regardless of whether they’re relegated or not, Elis, who like Asano can play on either flank, should be courted again. According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, there is already interest in him from both France and England. But Elis’ heart was once set on a move to Parkhead. Considering we’re looking for a fresh new start for the football club, we should still be an attractive proposition.

Boavista don’t tend to sell their players for overly inflated fees either. All of their top players have, in the past, left for fees that should be well affordable to Celtic this summer [Transfermarkt].

Elis is another who has shown a clinical edge to his game in the final third, with superb versatility too. His strength would also ensure that the Scottish game isn’t too rough and tumble for him.

If Celtic want to sort out their winger issues and in a cheaply manner, the likes of Asano and Elis look like hugely shrewd buys.

In other news, it’s time to admit that this Celtic star has now played his last game for the club.