4 Celtic transfer priorities after Jota and Bernabei with new striker and the next Tom Rogic high on the agenda

You get the feeling things are yet to properly get going at Celtic this summer.

So far Cameron Carter-Vickers has joined permanently while Benjamin Siegrist arrived as backup to Joe Hart. Going the other way, we’ve seen Vasilis Barkas leave for Utrecht while Liam Scales heads for Aberdeen on loan.

Things are expected to heat up any time now though. Deals for winger Jota and left-back Alexandro Bernabei are well down the line and could be announced imminently, and they’re expected to be followed by swathes of more comings and goings as the Hoops shape up for a crack at the Champions League. There are a number of areas Ange Postecoglou will still be concerned about and addressing them in the next few weeks will be key to retaining the Premiership crown – and making a splash on Europe’s biggest stage.

But after Carter-Vickers, Jota and Bernabei, what else is there to do exactly? What areas still need work, and who needs to be moved on?

Up front could do with some attention. Daizen Maeda deputized while Kyogo Furuhashi was injured whole Giorgos Giakoumakis came onto a game. But an extra option would make sense given all three suffered injuries at some point.

Midfield is clearly a priority with a number of targets linked so far this summer. Replacing Tom Rogic will be easier said than done though after the Aussie bid an emotional farewell last season.

But who’s in line to potentially fill the gaps? RecordSport have you covered.

midfield steel

It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that Postecoglou is on the hunt for a new central midfielder. Vinicius Souza and Mohammad Abu Fani are the two who have been most closely looked at, and it appears to be the former who is the favourite.

The Hoops are locked in talks with Lommel over the Brazilian, and see Souza as the ideal replacement for Nir Bitton, who was a reliable performer and leaves a major hole in the middle of the park. A number of top sides are keen on the 23-year-old – but the Hoops’ automatic spot in the Champions League might provide a key negotiating point.

Whether it’s Souza, Fani, or someone else, though, a midfield enforcer appears to be next on the agenda once deals for Jota and Bernabei are over the line.

Replacing Rogic

Bitton isn’t the only departing stalwart who needs replaced at Parkhead, however. Leaving alongside him is Aussie veteran Tom Rogic who was a creative force of nature last season.

Nominated for PFA Scotland Player of the Year alongside teammate and eventual winner Callum McGregor, he had one of the best seasons of his Celtic career. And while Postecoglou will hope David Turnbull and Matt O’Riley can step into the void and create from midfield, neither can do it to quite the same level as the Australian destroyer.

Tom Rogic scores against Motherwell

What’s lacking at Celtic currently is an out-and-out number 10, who could fulfill the dual purpose of stepping into Rogic’s shoes while also giving them the option to change shape to a 4-2-3-1 when required. Those types of player don’t grow on trees, granted, and it might take another recruitment masterstroke to find one.

Aberdeen’s Connor Barron might be the long-term option but at 19 he’s still raw. An oven-ready midfield creator, who can cause havoc with late runs into the box and slaloming drives from deep, would be a big addition.

Depth up top

Once a position of major concern, Celtic now have options to choose from up front with Kyogo and Giorgos Giakoumakis enjoying terrific first seasons at Parkhead. The two hitmen provide completely different options up front and even if playing them together is kept as a last resort, both are likely to see plenty of minutes next term.

Beyond those two, though, there is a serious lack of depth. Albian Ajeti is n’t trusted, Johnny Kenny still seems at least a season away from being handed a significant first-team role, and Daizen Maeda has proven his value from him as a starting winger.

A third reliable option up front would be beneficial, although he would likely need to be something different again from what Kyogo and Giakoumakis can offer. Is there a middle ground between an out-and-out target man and a wily false nine who could step in and cover when neither of the formidable goalscorers are available?

Another big ask but it’s a pressing issue which will need addressed.

Shift the deadwood

A big factor in why things have taken so long in terms of incomings is the sheer size of Celtic’s squad. It’s huge.

We’ve already seen some outgoing movement but Boli Bolingoli and Ismaila Soro at least are still with the club and appear to have no long-term futures. Postecoglou has said he won’t force anyone to leave, but that’s something he may have to compromise on if he wants to recruit the quality required this summer.

It’s likely no coincidence that Barkas was moved on before Siegrist was recruited, and it seems likely to be a case of one-in, one-out from here on – with the scope for even more departures to free up space in the budget.



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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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