Report: Highly-rated Celtic-linked U21 int'l has decided his next club

By David Walton

January 4, 2022

Celtic-linked Northern Ireland starlet Trai Hume has decided to move to Sunderland from Linfield this month, according to the BBC.

The report states that the under-21 international right-back will make the move to the League One side in a £200k agreement. Celtic have been mentioned by the BBC as one of the parties previously interested in the player.

Indeed, Belfast Live initially reported our interest after the summer window had closed. Instead, it looks as though he’s off to England after playing only 62 senior games in his homeland with Ballymena United and Linfield respectively [Transfermarkt].

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Given the fee involved, it looks as though Celtic didn’t progress their initial interest. Linfield boss David Healy stated towards the end of 2021 that there was interest from Scotland in the summer as he talked up how highly he rates his talent [Belfast Telegraph].

The Hoops have been encouraged to dip into both the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland markets this week by Kenny Shiels [Daily Record]. This comes with the Hoops set to secure the signing of Sligo Rovers striker Johnny Kenny [Irish Independent].

Celtic remain well-stocked in the right-back department, however, despite not moving for Hume. Josip Juranovic and Anthony Ralston both continue to vie for the number one spot.

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No Celtic deal for Trai Hume; right-back not a priority position

All the best to Hume should he finalise his expected move to Sunderland in the coming days. It’s certainly a big step-up for him given he’s been operating in the NIFL Premiership over the last couple of years.

However, that step-up would’ve been even greater had he bagged a Parkhead move. And if the offer was on the table, it surely would’ve been too tempting to turn down in favour of Sunderland. So all information points towards the Hoops simply deciding to pass on this one.

It’s not overly surprising for those who have been following the story either. Ever since Celtic’s summer interest was reported, there didn’t appear to be any progress made as we crept towards January. Again, you can understand that given the priorities the club currently has in the window.

Photo by Cees van Hoogdalem/Soccrates/Getty Images

For the truth is that right-back simply isn’t a top priority at the moment. We don’t need another player to come in and battle Juranovic and Ralston for the jersey. Sure, an option for the longer-term looks great on paper, but our current duo aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

A top-class left-back, on the other hand, should be something the club is considering. Even though we have Liam Scales, Greg Taylor, Boli Bolingoli, and Reo Hatate who can all play the position – a proper first-choice could do with being acquired.

Meanwhile, Hume heading off to Sunderland pretty much concludes speculation surrounding another right-back this January. For now at least.

In other news, Experienced manager urges Celtic to sign up Ireland’s top talents