3 right-backs who'd fit perfectly into Ange Postecoglou's Celtic

By Euan Davidson

July 8, 2021

It’s all fine and well moaning about the Celtic and Ange Postecoglou’s right-back problem. So, that’s exactly what I did, not long ago. But solutions are what get the people going.

We know Postecoglou’s tactics by this point, from reading. However, from watching, we got a better view of what the Greek-Australian needs from his teams.

“Inverted full-backs”, i.e. full-backs who occupy inward spaces so as to keep a backline compact [Total Football Analysis], are the name of the game. While Ralston and O’Connor still have potential in that role, it’s nothing something they’re necessarily used to.

Therefore, someone who can be plugged in, with experience of operating in a high-press and with extra attacking responsibility, would be a huge boost.

So, who fits that profile? Clearly, what’s needed is versatility. A background in playing higher up the pitch, plenty of pace, and experience in more complex tactical set-ups are integral here. So, 67 Hail Hail has scoured the leagues to bring you three exciting options.

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Clément Michelin – the star for Ligue 1’s surprise package

RC Lens were one of Europe’s surprise teams in 20-21. After being promoted, little was expected of the northern French side, but they ended up finishing 7th [Sky Sports], and it could’ve been even better for them.

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With quite a youthful squad at their disposal, RC Lens turned heads with their tactically astute manager, Franck Haise. Part of their rise up the French top-flight was the consistency of right-back Clément Michelin, a headline writer’s dream.

Michélin, who made the France Olympic squad [Goal], is just 24, and finds himself at Lens after coming through at Toulouse, where he played alongside Celtic defender Christopher Jullien, and striker Odsonne Edouard. A former French youth international, Michelin had his best season in 20-21, he played 28 times across all competitions, bagging 4 assists.

Used on the right of midfield, as well as at centre-back, Michelin could be perfect as a roving RWB, in front of a 2 or 3 man defence. An excellent crosser of the ball, he’s capable of patrolling the right flank in fast-paced side.

With his contract expiring in 2022, Celtic could take advantage before Michelin’s stock continues to rise.

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Yan Couto – could City Group help Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic?

By now, it’s hardly outlandish to suggest that Celtic have benefitted from an informal relationship with Manchester City. Olivier Ntcham, Jason Denayer, Patrick Roberts, John Guidetti, you know the rest. It’s a well-worn path by now.

And while Celtic supporters – myself included – will be against the idea of another loan move to fill the gaps, hear me out. Yan Couto could be really good for Celtic.

The Brazilian youngster, signed from Coritiba in the summer of 2020 [SI], was immediately loaned out to City Group affiliate Girona FC. It’s easy to see why the Citizens signed the right-back. At the U17s World Cup, he created more opportunities than any other defender as Brazil won the whole thing [Man City].

That productivity was seen at a very decent standard. With Girona in La Liga 2, Couto was a stand-out. From the right-back position, he created 5 goals and scored 2 across all competitions [Transfermarkt]. Couto’s performances even landed him honours, named the best right-back in the division [Manchester Evening News].

He’s still unlikely to be competing for a place in Guardiola’s first-team. With the numbers we need in, a loan move might work well for all concerned here. He’s not a long-term fix, but his attacking prowess from full-back would make him an excellent temporary addition.

Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Robert Gumny – is Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic a more attractive proposition?

Now, here’s a name you’ll remember. In 2019, Celtic were linked to Polish right-back Robert Gumny. Formerly of Lech Poznan, reports in Poland suggested the club hadn’t actually made a bid, in the end [Wyborcza].

And so, Gumny moved to Germany, to play for FC Augsburg. Another full-back who is capable on either side, the former Lech player had a successful maiden campaign in the Bundesliga.

Averaging a tackle and 0.8 interceptions a game [WhoScored?] last season, Gumny might not be the finished article defensively. What he has shown, though, is a real tenacity. Highlights via Sports Illustrated show he’s capable at the last-ditch stuff; recoveries and clearances. But he also likes to attack the byline and wreak havoc upon opposition defences.

He’d be an excellent overlapping option, which would suit Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic. Having inside forwards coming into support a main striker, full-backs will be depended upon to both attack and defend.

Watching Gumny’s game, he’s still a raw asset. However, after establishing himself in the Bundesliga, it seems clear he’d be a very good fit indeed.

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