The current transfer window offers the potential for so much pruning that Brendan Rodgers has deemed necessary, it is to be hoped that the Celtic manager has a pair of secateurs in his luggage as he and his players touch down in Scotland this morning following their Dubai winter break.
Luckless Nigerian Efe Ambrose could be the first surplus-to-requirements squad player to depart the Scottish champions on a permanent basis this window. According to reports, the 28-year-old has been offered a two-year deal at Bastia.
His need a for a fresh start – for five months he hasn’t been close to a senior appearance – is obvious.
With Eoghan O’Connell having moved on loan to Walsall and Dedryck Boyata believed to be holding out for a switch – temporary or otherwise – to England amid interest in the Belgian from Anderlecht, the deck-clearing of centre-backs could be an extensive process.
Rodgers has used 30 players in his first six months in Scotland. He stated recently he really only wanted to work with 17 outfield performers on a daily basis.
It is possible he could snip away at no fewer than nine of the players that have made competitive first-team outings under him at Celtic – plus Scott Allan being touted for another loan move after his unhappy spell at Rotherham, and Kris Commons, whose wages may lead him to the English Championship or America at the conclusion of his Hibernian loan.
Emilio Izaguirre, who has enjoyed a renaissance following Kieran Tierney’s injury, is reported to be on the wanted lists of Yorkshire clubs Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday. With Tierney preparing to return, both may provide better playing prospects and salary packages for the Honduran who is into the final months of his Celtic contract.
The forgotten Nadir Ciftci and Kristopher Ajer will surely be spending at least the second half of this season with other clubs. The pair haven’t been sighted in senior football since Rodgers’ early days. And although the trio of Gary Mackay-Steven, Liam Henderson and Ryan Christie were used as Celtic found themselves playing every couple of days in December, with new £2.8 million midfielder Kouassi Eboue they are unlikely to be glimpsed again any time soon.