3 worthwhile SPFL pre-contracts Celtic could secure from January
There’s no better time to start looking at potential future transfers than during the international break, and there is certainly plenty for Celtic to ponder in the SPFL ranks.
Over the summer, we were left kicking ourselves as we missed out on the likes of Ali McCann. Moves for others such as Josh Doig and Kevin Nisbet also failed to transpire despite hefty reported interest.
At times the talent that’s actually based in Scottish football gets overlooked for the sexier sounding names abroad. That’s despite the fact some of our greatest successes over the years have come from our own top flight. Well, this January, yet more potential options will open up to the Hoops. Several talented players will enter the final six months of their contracts, leaving them open to being plucked on a bosman deal for nothing. Here, we take a look at 3 that would be worthwhile moves for the Bhoys:
1. Benjamin Siegrist – Dundee United
Oh we know all about this one. Swiss stopper Ben Siegrist was consistently linked with a move to Celtic Park over the summer window. It has been reported by Blick last season that the Hoops had the player scouted on several occasions.
Incredibly, despite only costing a reported £400k [Scottish Sun], Siegrist stayed at Tannadice. He’s one of the most talented goalkeepers in Scotland and has experience in Scotland, England, and Switzerland to his name. A former Swiss U-21 international, his shot-stopping ability is better than any of the back-up options we currently have at Celtic Park.
Sure, Joe Hart looks like he’s here for the long-term. Can you honestly say the same about Vasilis Barkas or Scott Bain? Celtic fans, and the manager most likely, know that both men aren’t good enough to remain here much longer.
You would expect some major changes to the goalkeeping department in either January or the summer. At least with regards to back-up options.
With Siegrist being available for nothing next summer as he heads into his peak years, it seems bizarre not to move for him come the new year. This is as big an open goal as Celtic will have when it comes to solving our back-up options in between the sticks. Hopefully, the club sees sense here.
John Souttar – Hearts
Quite incredibly, the talented John Souttar is heading into the final few months of his contract at Hearts despite the constant praise he’s received in recent months.
When questioned on contract talks at the start of the season, 3-time Scotland capped Souttar was coy. He instead simply stated that he enjoyed playing at Tynecastle and that contract talks can take a long time [Edinburgh Evening News].
Meanwhile, as Celtic have had basic defensive mistake after basic defensive mistake this season, Souttar has been thriving. He’s been involved in 10 matches for the Jambos this season and has banked five clean sheets. In three others, the opposition have only netted once.
Not to mention Souttar is classy and composed on the ball. He’s at his happiest passing out from the back and provides a physical presence to match any in Scotland.
Of course, ankle and achilles injuries have robbed two years of Souttar’s career from him. There could be a hesitancy there given his recent injury history despite the fact he has over 200 senior appearances in Scotland to his name. But at the end of the day, the nature of a pre-contract deal is that it minimises risk. Not to mention his response this season has been a powerful one as he looks to restore his reputation back to what it once was.
There’s so much to work with when it comes to John Souttar. He reads like the kind of talent, especially at age 25, that Postecoglou would love to work with. We’ll see if there’s an opening here come the new year.
Shaun Rooney – St Johnstone
A diehard Celtic fan, Shaun Rooney has made quite a name for himself with St Johnstone since signing back in June 2020.
Getting the obvious achievements out of the way first – he’s been a stalwart for Callum Davidson’s side in securing both domestic cup competitions last season. Rooney netted the winners in both finals against Livingston and Hibernian respectively, and despite being a right-back, he ended last season with an incredible nine direct goal contributions [Transfermarkt].
Rooney has impressed against both Celtic and Rangers whilst cementing his place as St Johnstone’s number one right-back. He has raw power perhaps unmatched by any other full-back in Scotland, and has proven to have a decent delivery on him as the Hoops have found out in the past.
Rooney admirably coped well with the step up to Europa League qualifying level in the summer too. He was one of Saints’ best players against LASK and Galatasaray, and comes with a brilliant backstory of having worked his way up through the divisions (outside of a spell with York).
Celtic could still do with someone of Rooney’s raw attributes in the right-back position. He’s an upgrade on Anthony Ralston and would provide genuine competition for Josip Juranovic.
A free agent next summer, the powerful full-back is going to be on plenty of club’s summer radars. Let’s see if he’s part of Celtic’s.