There’s surely going to be plenty of action in January from a Celtic perspective.
In what will be the final opportunity for us to strengthen for the 10, changes must be made. Some more width would be ideal whilst a new centre-back and goalkeeper could still be necessities.
As for outgoings, it remains to be seen if Celtic trim the fat. It’s absolutely vital that we have strength in depth, but some need to leave for the sake of their careers.
Here, we take a look at three Celtic players who could do with departing the club next month….but only temporarily:
1. Ewan Henderson
This is by far the easiest one of the lot.
Ewan has been training with the first team for too long without regular opportunities. This season alone has only seen him make one appearance – a 60-minute outing against Lille in the Europa League.
What was ironic about that one is that he impressed. In fact, he was bossing the Ligue 1 leaders and gave us terrific width and energy down the right. He replaced Jeremie Frimpong and you wouldn’t have thought we were missing Jeremie one bit. That’s the biggest compliment you could give Hendo.
Yet in the two games since then he’s been back out of the squad. Not just the team, but the matchday squad.
It’ll nearly be two years since Henderson made his Celtic debut against Motherwell. Fast forward those two years and there’s been no progress. He’s been on the outside looking in ever since, and at 20 years of age, it’s time to get him some senior minutes.
We’ve spoken about the need for Henderson to move in the past. Therefore, he’s a natural for this list.
2. Hatem Elhamed
It looks likely that Elhamed will be leaving Celtic permanently next month. The Scottish Sun reported as such in early December, so long as Celtic can find a replacement for him.
However, I would argue that it would be more valuable for Elhamed to try a loan move for now.
His family is back home in Israel. It could be worth sending him back home for six months to try and get any homesickness out of his system. Especially considering that lockdown could be taking its toll.
Coming back to Scotland in the summer when things have eased could be ideal for him. It would allow his family more opportunities to come over and see him whilst still trying to get his Celtic career going.
Remember, Elhamed has worked so hard for this move to Parkhead. When he joined back in the summer of 2019, he refused to play for Hapoel Be’er Sheva. This was because it could’ve potentially ruined his chances of playing in Europe for the Hoops (The Herald).
It’s important he doesn’t throw his career in Europe down the drain without taking all alternative options. Going back to Israel permanently should be a last resort.
Let’s see how he does with a loan period away from the club. If the right-back still wants out in the summer, we can let him go. It also allows us more time to source a potential replacement.
3. Patryk Klimala
Right. Hear me out here because I know he’s loved by some.
Klimala seriously impressed against Lille earlier this month. He ran their defence ragged and has been a regular contributor from the subs bench this season. Neil Lennon has featured him in 18 matches this term alone (Transfermarkt).
However, the majority of those have only been short cameos. In truth, Klimala hasn’t shown enough in most of his appearances to warrant more game-time. I think Lennon will look to give his £5million man Albian Ajeti more minutes in the coming weeks (Sky Sports).
Considering Celtic also have Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths available, that makes competition tough. Judging by the first half of the season, it’s difficult to see where Klimala comes into things. Especially considering Neil is back to using a one-striker system.
At 22, it would be more essential for Klimala to get regular game-time. A move to another Premiership side would be terrific for him. It would allow us to see him more regularly against Scottish opposition. That would give ourselves and Lennon more time to judge what he’s all about.
We have three strikers ahead of Klimala with more pedigree. If Lennon’s plan is to keep him on the bench and only bring him on in 15-20 minute cameos for the next six months then he would be as well heading off for now.
He’s going to be a star here, but I don’t think that will be the case this season. Give him a run elsewhere and let’s go with the three forwards we have.