With the transfer window now officially open, rumours are abuzz about Celtic’s potential targets, with Ki Sung-yueng the latest name to be linked with the club. While Celtic have had mixed results with January transfers in the past, attempts must be made to strengthen the defence, with a new goalkeeper the top priority.
Craig Gordon is a goalkeeper who divides opinion with Celtic fans. At his best, he is an excellent shot stopper, highlighted by two outstanding saves in the second half of the last game of the calendar year against Rangers. His fingertip save to deny James Tavernier’s volley and his reaction to get down low and stop a header from Alfredo Morelos arguably rescued a point in a half in which Celtic were the weaker side.
However, it could be argued that shot stopping is a fundamental basic of goalkeeping and in the modern game – and in this Celtic team it’s not sufficient if your distribution is substandard, which Gordon’s unfortunately is. He is also always capable of a mistake, evident in the recent draw with Hibs where his clumsiness almost ended Celtic’s unbeaten run in stoppage time. We cannot see what goes on during training; however, Brendan Rodgers must be seeing enough to continue placing his trust in Gordon, as Dorus de Vries and Conor Hazard have not been used. De Vries is reaching the end of his career as he has just turned 37 while the young Hazard is perhaps too inexperienced and could potentially be doing with a loan spell to get some game time. Kristoffer Ajer certainly benefited from his time at Kilmarnock and Rodgers will be hoping to have the same result from Kundai Benyu, who is reportedly set for a loan move to Oldham.
Previously, some huge names have made their way to Celtic in the winter transfer window and there is nothing wrong with fans speculating about who could arrive. However, there are areas of the park which need to be attended to urgently and the defence should be the priority. Marvin Compper has been signed to bring some experience to the back line and should be filtered in with the likes of Ajer and Dedryck Boyata as it looks like Erik Sviatchenko will also be leaving the club and Jozo Simunovic continues to struggle with injuries.
Undoubtedly a fan’s favourite, Mikael Lustig’s performances of late have been poor and his lack of pace and his refusal to use his left foot have rendered his play too predictable. When Anthony Ralston returns from injury, he should be given a chance, as he was impressive against Neymar when Celtic faced PSG in the Champions League.
It is perhaps too much of a task for Celtic to sign a goalkeeper who fits the style of play Rodgers desires at this stage of the season however fans can only hope that the manager is already looking at targets as it is clearly a weakness of the team. Compper recently spoke about how impressed he was with Rodgers’ background knowledge of him and it is clear that the scouting team takes every aspect of a player into account. While marquee signings are always beneficial regarding morale and fan appreciation, Celtic must look at issues within the team at present and a new goalkeeper should be the top priority, whether now or in the summer.
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