Aug. 24, 2022

Will Celtic sign a central midfielder before the end of the transfer window?

Will Celtic sign a central midfielder before the end of the transfer window?

The Scottish transfer window will 'slam shut' on 1 September so Celtic and Ange Postecoglou have around one week to go to bring in another player, or two.

The champions have been very active in the window so far, securing permanent deals for Cameron Carter-Vickers, Jota, and Daizen Maeda as well as bringing Alexandro Bernabei, Aaron Mooy, Benjamin Siegrist and Moritz Jenz to Celtic Park.

It is looking extremely likely that Sead Haksabanovic will complete his transfer from Rubin Kazan in the coming days as the squad earns some more firepower.

The Montenegro international is capable of playing on the wing and in the number 10 role.

Fans certainly can't accuse the club of resting on their laurels after winning the Scottish Premiership, and we've spent healthily to try and construct a competitive side for the rigours of the Champions League.

However, there are many supporters still clamouring for another central midfielder, and these demands have only increased following the 2-0 victory against Hearts at the weekend.

Celtic claimed all three points and were in control for the majority of proceedings, but it perhaps wasn't as swashbuckling a performance as some were expecting.

Following the result, Ange said he would be open to adding more players to his squad if an "opportunity" arises.

"We can't stand still" the Australian said.

"We're still building. Every now and then I'll glance at the diary and, if you go back 12 months from today, you're going to have a very different picture of what our football club looked like.

"We've made a hell of a lot of progress, but we're still at the beginning. I'm still building a team, a game style, an environment. There's still work to be done. Just because you have had success, or it looks like things are going well, that's not the time to stand still.

"My ambitions for this football club are very strong in terms of making sure we are the best we can be.

"So, we'll continue to strengthen with the guys we've got but, if opportunities come along to bring people in who I think will help us on that journey, then I'll bring them in."

To ask for a new midfielder isn't a knee jerk reaction, as it has been fairly clear that Matt O'Riley and David Turnbull can't play together in that area and that some more dynamism is required.

We brought in Mooy, yes, but what we saw from him at the weekend was the very antithesis of dynamism.

Who have Celtic been linked with?

One major link that has generated steam in the last couple of days is with Hajduk Split midfielder Jani Atanasov.

After failing to gain enough game time with Bursaspor in Turkey, the North Macedonian transferred to Hajduk in the summer of 2020 and he has kicked on in Croatia.

Hajduk are hoping to make an impact in the Europa Conference League this season if they qualify and he was a key player in the 2021/22 season when the club ran Dinamo Zagreb close to the Croatian league title.

A defensive midfielder, Atanasov would allow Callum McGregor to play slightly further forward, providing the aforementioned dynamism the team has been lacking in the position between midfield and attack.

Or, he could potentially feature alongside McGregor in a double-pivot if Ange decides to solidify things for tough Champions League encounters.

Croatian outlet Germanijak reported this week that Atanasov could leave this summer and that Postecoglou could sanction a move for the 22 year old.

No other midfielders have been strongly linked with Celtic - for the moment - but fans shouldn't panic as nobody had heard a whisper of Sead Haksabanovic before he suddenly appeared on the radar.

The need for more physicality in midfield is genuine however, and Ange will no doubt recognise this.

We discuss all of the above and more in this week's episode of TCE Tuesday. Click here or on the link below to listen now.