The transfer window opened on Tuesday 11th June, but we’ve been hearing plenty of rumours long before the season ended. This week it seems as though Celtic are poised to confirm their first signing.
Amongst all the chatter, David Turnbull of Motherwell looks set to be Neil Lennon’s first player in the door. Previous bids are said to have been submitted and not just by Celtic, but up until now none were enough to bring the Steelmen to the table.
That now seems to have been rectified with Celtic making a more significant and successful bid for the SFWA Young Player of the Year. Having lost out on John McGinn last summer, there may have been some lessons learned by Celtic.
The Treble Treblers need to get the right players in soon and whilst Turnbull will still have to prove himself in a Hoops jersey, this could be a shrewd piece of business for all parties. It’s not every day a club like Motherwell get this kind of money for a player and for Celtic this could be a swift move that could pay off long term.
Turnbull completed his first full season in the Motherwell senior team having made his debut at 18 years of age in February 2018. He would only make another two appearances that season, but that would all change in the season that has just closed as he made 31 appearances scoring 15 goals from midfield.
There’s no doubt that has had the attention of others including Celtic long before his step up tothe first team. However, Celtic may require more experienced players to take on the challenges of European football this summer, particularly in defence.
Turnbull is young and has had just one full season under his belt, but it was a very promising one for the now 19 year old. He could provide another gear in the Celtic engine room which currently consists of Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham, Nir Bitton and the lesser seen Youssouf Mulumbu and Eboue Kouassi.
Celtic also have Ewan Henderson vying for a place in the team and so far has looked very good. There have been rumours of Ntcham being unhappy/wanting to leave/French clubs interested* (*delete as appropriate) and if any player was to go this summer I’d say it would be him as he’d command a fee Celtic may find hard to refuse.
Many Celtic fans have passed judgement on Ntcham based on this season alone. A season in which he was largely absent through injury.
Similarly, Tom Rogic came back from an exhausting World Cup last summer and struggled to find form. He then got injured and came back into the fold when he wasn’t even match sharp.
I’ve heard some Celtic fans saying his time is up too. I’d pour cold water on that one to be honest.
Mulumbu could be a goner as he never really hit the ground running and was loaned back to Kilmarnock in January. Kouassi has been out injured recently and his Celtic career hasn’t really kicked off either, but he is still young so it isn’t over for him just yet.
There are also links with players south of the border such as Bolton’s Luca Connell and West Brom’s Karim Harper. Again, these guys are young so what kind of impact they could have now is unclear.
Connell has played no more than 12 first team games for Bolton who have now been relegated from the Championship. Harper has made a more significant impact with 23 appearances coming predominantly in the second half of the season.
He also scored one goal and one assist and could be considered a first team option. However, today it is being reported the club may have cooled their interest with impending arrival of Turnbull.
Whether that means the same for Connell remains to be seen. Celtic certainly won’t require too much in central midfield given the array of options they already have.
Even in the wider areas Celtic have Scott Sinclair, James Forrest, Marian Shved, Mikey Johnston, Daniel Arzani, Jonny Hayes and the soon to return Lewis Morgan. So the focus must return to our defence.
At this moment in time Celtic have a backline that consists of Anthony Ralston, Kieran Tierney, Kris Ajer, Jozo Simunovic, Jack Hendry, Marvin Compper and Calvin Miller. January signings Andrew Gutman and Manny Perez should join up for preseason training, but it is yet to be confirmed if Mikael Lustig will don the Hoops again.
He and his partner have both posted hearfelt messages on social media. Many feel it is time Lustig moves on whilst others were positively weeping at his social media video of his best moments.
Whether the Swede returns or not, defence will require serious strengthening. If Filip Benkovic were to do another loan spell it’d certainly help out, but experience dictates that you need at least four central defenders to cover injuries and suspensions.
If you include Hendry and Compper in that then we’re covered. However, it remains to be seen whether they are up to the job.
Hendry made just one appearance this year as a substitute in Brendan Rodgers’ final match as Celtic manager. He made the bench for Neil Lennon’s first three games in charge against Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen but hasn’t been in matchday squads since then.
Compper of course has been seen even less. If he isn’t worthy of a first team place then I have no idea why he is still kicking about.
I’m satisfied with Ajer and Jozo at the heart of defence, but if one gets suspended or crocked, we’re crocked. Jozo already has a history of injuries as well as his inability to play on artificial surfaces or when there’s a full moon.
Tierney needs back up and I don’t think Miller is a left back. Hayes isn’t either, despite deputising when called upon and doing a job.
Gutman is a left back and Perez is a right back, but are these guys ready to be thrown into first team action? We haven’t seen either of them yet and I’d be cautious about allowing the right back berth to go to Ralston or Perez without an experienced right back to support and guide them.
So there’s still work to be done but the transfer window hasn’t even been open a week. The sooner we get the players in we need the better and today the first could be announced.