What Celtic really need in and out the door this January transfer window
We’re in November now, and more often than not for Celtic fans, the focus becomes about the January transfer window at this point in the year.
After all, why not? We’ve seen some wild stuff in the past. In 18-19, short-term fixes were met with longer-term projects; see Timo Weah and Maryan Shved for an example of either [Transfermarkt]. In 19-20, Klimala and Soro were brought in, with neither being used until far later. Last season? Well, Jonjoe Kenny arrived on loan. His statue outside Celtic Park probably isn’t coming.
It’s obvious that Ange Postecoglou will want a more relaxed time of it for the January transfer window. 12 players came in during the summer, mostly to very decent effect. From Joe Hart in goal to Kyogo up front, there have been smart acquisitions across the pitch.
However, it’s hard not to feel as if we’re light in certain areas, and could use more competition and quality.
But where specifically? Let’s take a look, from both a buying and selling perspective.
Celtic goalkeeping department needs looked at during January transfer window
Undoubtedly, Joe Hart is the man.
At 34, he has immense big-game experience, has excellent reactions and is a vocal leader on the pitch. He was and is an excellent signing, the kind that made cynics like myself look utterly daft with his fantastic displays.
Beyond him, it’s not such a pretty scene.
You could make a case for getting rid of both Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain. If Hart required any rest during the season, it’d hard to believe either would inspire much confidence, even with an improved defence in front of them.
The SPFL has a glut of high-quality goalkeepers. From Livingston’s Stryjek to Dundee United’s Benjamin Siegrist. Alternatively, there are plenty of experienced goalkeepers around Europe who just aren’t getting game-time.
Or, it might be worth developing talent from within the club. The likes of Conor Hazard and Tobi Oluwayemi will surely be knocking on the door in years to come – as a cost-saving exercise, bringing a more youthful goalkeeper to the bench might be prudent.
Because Bain and Barkas could both use a fresh start. Back-up for Joe Hart is an important area for development, and neither of his alternatives seem destined to impress for Celtic again.
Attacking midfield has to be a priority for Celtic during January transfer window
We’ve touched on this before, but it bears repeating; Celtic are too reliant on Tom Rogic and David Turnbull.
That became obvious this Saturday past. Without Rogic, who is having a very impressive season, the Bhoys looked one-dimensional and lacked cutting edge moving into the opposition box.
Number 10s with the ability to do that can be expensive. But they don’t necessarily have to be, if Celtic are smart this January transfer window. What’s clear, though, is that letting go of both Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham has blunted the edge in our midfield rotations.
Both Turnbull and Rogic are quality players. Even when both are fit, though, Postecoglou doesn’t really have any reliable playmakers on his bench.
That’s an issue, for sure. Celtic will need to invest.
Celtic need to make decisions on fringe talents
It’s never the most fun suggesting which players Celtic need to look at moving on, even if it’s on loan. However, there are simply too many options in certain areas of the pitch.
Up front is a key example. Albian Ajeti, after his brief stint in the starting XI, impressed but tailed off dramatically. He’s at the age where he needs regular football, but it doesn’t look as if he can top Giakoumakis or Kyogo to a starting berth. Has he done enough to justify staying at Celtic?
Equally, the left-back scenario is confusing. Greg Taylor would be the likely starter if fit, but Juranovic has impressed there, while Boli Bolingoli, Adam Montgomery and Liam Scales wait for chances. That isn’t particularly sustainable.
If the January transfer window is going to be about anything, it won’t be the wholesale changes that the summer brought. Ange Postecoglou and the Celtic board are going to have to be laser-focused on making a few clinical squad-building choices.
It’ll be exciting, possibly even dramatic. We’ll have to wait and see what Celtic have planned.