With the transfer window closing on 31st August, we have just 6 days to apply the finishing touches to the squad.
With that in mind, we’ve been doing some squad analysis to identify our weakest areas and we’re hoping that Dom McKay and co. are working to address them before the deadline.
First Team Squad
Based on recent line ups, this is where I see the first team squad at the moment, with ideally two players for each position:
Worth mentioning that we have a lot of flexibility in the front six positions (McGregor in an attacking midfield position, Christie left wing, Kyogo centre forward etc.) but I’ve laid things out in line with Ange’s recent thinking.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart is proving to be a fantastic signing bringing solidity, reliability and leadership. I don’t think he has much in the way of back up but I can’t see funds going on this position in this window.
Defence: We now seem relatively well covered in all areas bar left back. It’s bizarre how little noise there has been regards rumours for this position with maybe only Liam Scales, currently of Shamrock Rovers, looking likely to be drafted in as cover there. Christopher Julien’s return date is still unknown but I think we’ll be playing Welsh/Starfelt every week for the foreseeable with Dane Murray covering. Josip Juranovic looks to be a real quality addition at right back and huge credit to Tony Ralston for making that position a genuine competition.
Midfield: This is our strongest area with great options for almost every position. Again, the left hand side looks light but I think we’ll be going with what we have here with no further midfield signings this window. That could depend on Ryan Christie of course. I’d be delighted if he was to commit even short term and I wonder if he’s thinking he would be missing out if he declined to work with Postecoglou for a decent period. Here’s hoping.
Attack: The key question on the front 3 surrounds Odsonne Edouard. I don’t think we can be sure there won’t be some last day activity there so we need cover. Personally, I think Kyogo is most effective through the middle and I wonder if we’ll see this switch tried out in the derby on Sunday. Eddy loves a goal coming in from the left at Ibrox after all! Kyogo as a centre leaves us light on the left wing and in the centre Albian Ajeti won’t be a starter so again, cover required. On the right, I see Liel Abada and James Forrest passing the right wing baton between themselves through the season. Abada will always be first choice here for me but Jamesie will play his part.
In terms of backup players for the first team squad, this is how I see things:
As you can see we have a mix of experienced players, developing players and not sure they’ll make it players here. Karamoko Dembele can consider himself very unlucky to be out injured after the shocking tackle in the pre-season friendly against Bristol City. Overall the reserve pool is quite light but these are backups to the backups in the First XI so not altogether unexpected.
Notable absentees would be Owen Moffat and Bosun Lawal who are both garnering great reviews in the B team. I think we’ll see a few appearances from these two and others from that squad as the season progresses.
As discussed in a previous blog on The Dilemma of Youth Development at Celtic it also seems likely that Leo Hjelde will eave the club, with Leeds United his likely destination.
So with all that said and done, what do we need in the coming 6 days?
1. Left back cover
2. Left wing cover
3. Striker cover
Considering where we were just 4 weeks ago (FC Midtjylland) I think we need to give credit to everyone involved in getting us to such a strong position in such a short period of time.
It’s no time to be admiring the work done though – they need to stay focused and complete the job to allow Ange to put us back on top.
A very short note on exits. The following three players should be moved on: Vasilis Barkas / Boli Bolingoli / Leigh Griffths.
For a variety of reasons their time at Celtic is up and it’s now best for the club and for the individuals that everyone has a fresh start.
If we can finish the window strongly then I’m very intrigued as to what Ange has planned for the winter transfer window.
His comments on the J-League did not go unnoticed and I’d imagine he’s aware of several players over there that can further enhance the squad. This will be required in the second half of the season due to the intensity of the way we play so January could be interesting.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the above so fire up a comment here or on twitter and we’ll be sure to get back to you.
Listen to the latest episode of The Celtic Exchange Podcast here:
The Celtic Exchange Podcast is available weekly and we also provide a Match Reaction for all Celtic games on Spotify, Apple, Android and wherever you get your podcasts by searching “The Celtic Exchange”