Under Ange Postecoglou Celtic have made a habit of getting their business done early across the respective transfer windows.
Indeed, even before the transfer window officially opened on the 1st of January, the champions had already secured two signings in Alistair Johnston from CF Montreal and Yuki Kobayashi from Vissel Kobe.
The club then followed that up on the 3rd of January by confirming a further Japanese recruit in the form of Tomoki Iwata, formerly of Yokohama F. Marinos.
It remains to be seen whether there are further incomings across the rest of the month but what does seem more than likely are some notable players from Ange’s first team squad heading for the Celtic Park exit.
Josip Juranovic – The World Cup Wonder
Linked with: Barcelona, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Man Utd, Espanyol, Monza, Torino, West Ham
Anyone who believes that Josip Juranovic has played to the best of his ability in the 2022/23 campaign is kidding themselves, and although he would be a massive loss to the squad due to his obvious qualities, it’s seemed inevitable for some time now that the player would leave in January.
With his outstanding performances in the World Cup for Croatia boosting his profile, JJ enjoyed links with clubs as big as Barcelona, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid.
However, now that the window has now opened, the links with Europe’s elite have gone quiet, and it’s now clubs with a lesser standing who seem to be leading the way for his signature.
The clubs currently thought to be in the running are Monza and Torino of Serie A, both of whom are keep on a loan-to-buy option.
Celtic are naturally waiting to see if more interest comes from the Premier League, with West Ham said to be keeping tabs.
Sky Sports also recently reported that he is on a list of targets for Manchester United, but for any move to happen they would need to sell Aaron Wan-Bissaka first.
Juranovic has been in the shop window since the World Cup but did himself no favours with a dismal performance against Rangers.
He will leave, but probably won’t be in the kind high profile move that seemed likely even just a fortnight ago.
Stephen Welsh – The Celtic Academy Graduate
Linked with: Toulouse, Udinese, Hajduk Split, MLS
Both the club and the fans had high hopes for Stephen Welsh.
He’s a mature, eager-to-learn young man by all accounts and, crucially, arrived at the first team via the Celtic Academy pathway.
For the most part, Welsh has done okay when asked to step into the starting XI by Postecoglou, but it is his performances against higher calibre better opposition that have let him down.
Welsh would be perfectly suitable to stay at Celtic Park as a fourth-choice centre-back, but that likely won’t suit the club or the player, and it may be best that he move on to pastures new.
Celtic currently have five centre-backs in the squad in the shape of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt, Moritz Jenz, Yuki Kobayashi and Welsh himself and it seems there’s simply no longer room for him to continue his development at Celtic Park.
As for a destination, he came close to leaving in the summer when Toulouse offered a loan-to-buy for £3 million. Celtic rejected the bid as at that point they were short in his position.
Udinese had a similar approach knocked back, too.
The latest development is an interesting one as it’s believed Hajduk Split are interested in taking Welsh to Croatia, though a fee or any agreement have yet to be reached.
There are also two or three clubs from Major League Soccer keen to strike a deal with the Scottish youngster.
Giorgos Giakoumakis – The Greek Hitman
Linked with: Urawa Red Diamonds, Sampdoria, Midtjylland, MLS
Unfortunately the battle between Giorgos Giakoumakis and Kyogo Furuhashi for the starting striker jersey at Paradise can only have one winner, and the Greek seems to be runners up when it comes to that particular contest.
Both players are talented and effective strikers, and both believe they are the man to lead the line under Postecoglou, but two into one doesn’t go.
On that note Giakomakis now appears poised to leave Celtic Park this month, with interest coming from Europe, North America and Asia.
The player earned praise from Postecoglou for his attitude recently despite not being number one choice, while the manager also played down the prospect of the centre-forward leaving, but it seems that may be about to change.
The club most prominently linked with Giakoumakis recently are Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds, who have plenty of money behind them.
However whether or not the striker sees his future in the Land of the Rising Sun remains to be seen.
He has options in Europe, but the interested clubs are reportedly not willing to match the offer from Urawa Red Diamonds.
FC Midtjylland enquired for Giakoumakis near the start of the window, but were put off by Celtic’s asking price, while Sampdoria are looking to take him on an initial loan deal as they first as they fight out a relegation battle at the bottom of Seria A.
As with Welsh, there also seems to be interest from MLS.