BY Sean Markus Clifford
Considering the current economic impact on sport due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions, many football clubs will perhaps be looking towards more thrifty alternatives with regards to their transfer activity. Creative choices will have to be considered in order to cultivate capable squads moving forward into their respective new league campaigns, whilst also endeavouring to slash costs where possible.
Relevance to these potential activities resonate throughout European football, with Celtic being no different to any other club across the continent, as the financial impact of regressing revenue streams into club coffers almost certain to have an impact off and on the field.
Eluding to on field matters, after our fantastic nine in a row triumph the Bhoys will be looking to strengthen as they march onwards to a once-inconceivable tenth league. Identifiably, a winger will be high on Neil Lennon’s priority list; one potential remedy to this could be imminently out of contract Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe. Understandably, there could be apprehension from segments of the Hoops support in relation to potentially acquiring a previously out of favour and potentially perceived ‘cheap option’ in the lead up to a history defining season for everyone associated with Celtic Football Club. Conversely, players of his innate ability are not often available for a cut-price fee never mind no fee at all.
Doubtlessly, the winger has suffered from a much-maligned fall from grace since his £15 million move from Liverpool to Bournemouth after a successful experience with the Anfield side. Off-field issues and an eventual breakdown in affiliation with Eddie Howe has left a bitter taste, which could be of interest to Celtic. Priorities of security within the goalkeeping and defensive departments may carry more weight in relation to utilisation of an inevitably diminished transfer expenditure, considering recent developments throughout the world.
The Cherries winger; prominently a right-sided attacker, could provide some much needed competition and an alternative option to James Forrest who is such an important cog in the Celtic offensive third. Bhoys mainstay Forrest has participated in an incredible 161 fixtures over the last three seasons for the Glasgow club and having another talented individual on the right flank, could help to soften the constant burden on the 28 year old’s shoulders in such an essential upcoming league campaign.
Furthermore, the Londoner’s versatility affords him competence on the left side which could actually be his best opportunity to break into the first team mould. In terms of current options on the left wing, Mikey Johnston may be deemed somewhat inexperienced, whilst there is uncertainty over Celtic loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi’s future at the club as well as injury problems which undeniably restricted his involvement in the 19/20 season. As a skilful, direct threat to the opposition with a keen eye for goal the former England U21 cap could well add to the champions attacking arsenal. He fits the mould of a creative alternate acquisition and could undoubtedly become an influential team member, should he consistently illustrate the ability that saw him burst on to the scene as the 9 in a row victors march on to what is hopefully a record-shattering season for the Hoops.