In the wake of the recent whirlwind of Kieran Tierney’s emotional departure from the Parkhead club, many Hoops fans are champing at the bit for Peter Lawwell and his delegates to splash the Scottish record transfer fee received from Arsenal last Thursday afternoon.
In amongst the melee of gossip surrounding who will be acquired to help soften the blow of the Celtic icon’s dramatic exit, one possible option perhaps makes more plausible than most; Kilmarnock number three Greg Taylor as reported by RecordSport.
There have been murmurs from some sections of the Hoops support of quiet discontent, in relation to this potential transfer-dealing. However, there is tangible evidence that the 21-year-old fits the profile of what the Bhoys should be looking for in the transfer market.
So what affirmation supports this point of view?
It’s important to remember that despite having the disposable resources in order to strengthen the squad in key areas; there won’t be another Kieran Tierney for quite some time. The reality of the disproportionate nature of Europe’s top five leagues, inevitably means that players of sufficient talent will have their abilities supplemented with interest of sides who are able to provide financial packages that Celtic could only dream of.
Whether we like it or not we are living in a modern-day domain where the bigger clubs in the smaller leagues, have to sell off their best assets at some point when the abundance of attention from over-inflated footballing institutions comes to light from down south and beyond. Kieran Tierney, Moussa Dembele and Stuart Armstrong are just some of the players who fall into this category alongside many others.
One sphere of debate we cannot lose sight of is turning our nose up towards talent on our own doorstep. Grey Taylor is young, statistically very strong and has been a pivotal part of Kilmarnock’s surprise rise to the upper echelons of the Scottish game over the last two seasons. This may sound an unappealing signing to some, however, we also have sections of our support who have widely criticised our current first choice left-back – Boli Bolingoli Mbombo; a £3.5 million pounds signing from Rapid Vienna.
What is to say, for instance, if we spend seven million pounds on documented target Rico Henry from Brentford; will he be guaranteed to be any better? Neil Lennon once coined the phrase that you ‘need at least two players fighting for every position’ – what better opportunity to put this into practice than to invest in the Ayrshire club’s star. The dynamic full-back would represent a far more defensively sound option than Belgian Mbombo; this would give Celtic an advantage as the two’s vastly different styles could be applied to games they individually suit most.
Taylor would push the former Rapid Vienna defender to the height of his abilities, and the young Scot would develop leaps and bounds as a result. The Scotland-cap already has knowledge of his domestic league and statistically has imposed himself successfully against the majority of his counterparts. Winning an average of 7.76 defensive duels per 90 minutes according to Herald Scotland. This is actually higher than Kieran Tierney’s defensive duel average of 5.14 per 90, which gives a flavour of what the starlet could offer the Hoops should a deal be done for him.
Taylor also has slightly higher aerial duel success, interceptions and clearances per 90 minutes. Although these stats could be due to plying his trade for a far more defensive outfit than the Scottish champions.
A modest fee should be enough to secure Taylor’s services from Kilmarnock, and his significant potential could stand the Celts in good stead in a position that has been a problem in the past. Already capped once by Steve Clarke’s Scotland, the young full-backs prospective career hopes look bright. Celtic Park could definitely be the perfect place for the young man to further harness his development in the footballing world.
Sean Markus Clifford