Celtic have a massive problem staring them in the face come the end of this season. Their top defensive pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Jason Denayer will almost certainly both be gone in the close season leaving our two centre back positions vacant.
Why do I bring this up now? Yes, we still have a long way to go in this campaign but you always need to be one step ahead when it comes to things like this. If Celtic don’t sort this problem out then when the early Champions League qualifiers come round again we will have a Charlie Mulgrew/Efe Ambrose partnership to try and secure Celtic’s lucrative place in the top European competition.
Now you can be naïve and ask me why I’m certain that van Dijk is leaving this summer. No, I have no information that says he will be sold come June but you could see he was restless last close season and with more teams now interested in his services it’s only a matter of time before our board accept an offer for the big Dutchman. Unless all that comes in are derisory bids for the player then I fully expect him to leave the club.
Then there’s his defensive partner Jason Denayer – a bhoy who has came up from Man City and be a big hit with the support. We all know however that he’s just here on loan and unlike a good few of the loan signings we made last summer we do NOT have an option to buy him. Man City obviously not wanting to part with such a prospect permanently. The Belgian has been out injured the past few games and having to rely on Efe Ambrose in his absence has turned out to be bad for the heart but lucrative for my swear jar.
This is why the January window should be used to find their replacements, giving them time to bed in and get a real feel for things without too much pressure on their shoulders. If we leave it until the end of the season to eventually replace these guys then as I said at the top of this article, playing Champions League qualifiers with not one but two new central defenders could prove a massive blow.
What worries me is the manager has been talking about bringing in more attacking players in January and has said recently the defence is not his priority. It might not be right now Ronny but it will bite you right on your backside if you don’t have the foresight to see this particular problem.
We have some great ties coming up in the near future and the Celtic family will certainly enjoy those occasions but at Celtic the planning should never stop and I hope someone is looking at new defenders.