It’s that time again, the last couple of days before the transfer window shuts. To say it’s been quiet so far, would be an understatement for a lot of the fans. Odsonne Édouard was confirmed in June for a club record transfer fee and then things went a bit quiet. Izaguirre returned to Celtic Park as cover at left back after a short spell in the SPL, Saudi Professional League, and has only been followed by Daniel Arzani, on loan from Manchester City. The boy looks a player, but the gaffer has already said that he’ll need time to get up to speed.
There have been departures too, with only really Stuart Armstrong being the one that could have been considered as part of the first team. Will he be replaced? Will it be the Manchester City kid Douglas Luiz on loan? Would anyone be surprised if another City loanee arrived? He played 15 times last season for Paddy Roberts’ new club Girona, but only saw 295 minutes of game time in La Liga. A return to Spain has been mooted, whilst Porto and Benfica are apparently options too. Is Kouassi not doing enough in training to impress the manager?
Where are the players that can challenge for a spot in the starting XI?
The centre of defence is the one area where a lot of us are screaming out for reinforcements, and whilst a number of players have been linked, still we wait for additions. Surely the board aren’t waiting to see if the club get into the Europa Leage group stages? Surely not.
Whilst he’s not exactly flavour of the month, especially with the Green Brigade, if weekend match-winner, Boyata goes before the deadline closes on Friday, you’d have to think there would be at least two central defenders coming in? There have been no shortage of names linked. If you were told that you could get a player who last moved for £13m, your curiousity would be piqued. The 21 year old Croatian, Filip Benković, hasn’t even been at Leicester for three weeks but has already been linked with a loan move north. He’s been hailed by many as one of the brightest young talents to emerge from the country of the World Cup runners-up and is regarded as a ball playing centre half. He would seem to tick the boxes of the type of player that the manager would like to work with. He’s played in the Champions League with former club Dinamo Zagreb, albeit only the first half of a 5-0 defeat to Bayern Munich and a couple of minutes as a substitute in a 2-1 win over Arsenal. Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and AC Milan all had him watched before he moved to the EPL, so clearly he is held in high regard. He had a couple of months playing alongside Šimunović in the first team at Zagreb, maybe Jozo has already had a chat with him, who knows? Loans are not everyone’s cup of tea but if you can get in someone who’s young and looks promising, it’s worth taking the chance, right?
If you believe press reports, the club submitted a bid of £3.5m to Aberdeen for 21 year old, Scott McKenna. The said bid was rejected by the Dons but it seems that Celtic might yet go back in for him. Contracted to Scotland’s second best team until the summer of 2023, he’s made 41 appearances for them. After a couple of loan spells at Alloa and Ayr United, his rise has been reasonably meteoric, given that he now has 4 caps for Scotland and was only capped 5 times for the U21 side. The print media in Aberdeen have published comments by his manager saying “We have had a conversation with Celtic and it has been made clear and they have accepted that. I have spoken to Brendan Rodgers and at boardroom level they have spoken. It is difficult to me to react to another rumour that someone is thinking about putting in another offer. We are not in a position where we need to sell or need to do a deal. We want him to be a big part for us this season and hopefully he can be exactly that. McKenna’s market, for me, will be the English Premier League and we will get the bigger ticket on the back of that. I am very confident of that. It is not a case of if, it is when he goes there.”
McInnes seems pretty unequivocal on McKenna and would look pretty daft now if the player was pulling on the hoops next month.
Le Havre’s Harold Moukoudi is another one linked. The 20 year old is out of contract next summer so the cynic in you might think the club will hold off until January on him, assuming that the reported interest is accurate. Is it coincidence or not that he shares an agent with Filip Benković? Maybe the club have another Dudu Dahan type relationship on the go. No bad thing if it reaps the right kind of rewards. His club, AC Le Havre, sit 13th in the second tier of French football, with a win, 3 draws and a defeat from their first 5 league games. Not the best record upon first glance, but they’ve only conceded a couple of goals so far. He has 4 caps for the French U20 side and so will be well known to more than one player already at Celtic Park.
If Celtic do want him, it seems they’ll need to move fast as Aston Villa have submitted an offer, on a loan basis initially with an option to buy. Risky for the French side if he goes to Villa and they decide they don’t want him next year when he’ll be out of contract. Burnley, Middlesbrough, Sevilla and West Ham have all been credited with an interest too, so it’s going to take some hard cash, perhaps in the region of £5m to get the boy to Glasgow.
With Villa having already secured McGinn, it would leave a sour taste in the mouth if Celtic lost another player to a side that were knocked out of the EFL Cup last night by Burton Albion.
With less than 72 hours to go to add reinforcements, you’d be hoping that Lee Congerton and his staff will be consuming vast amounts of caffeine until the deadline and are working hard to deliver results.