The decision to bring an early conclusion to Moritz Jenz year-long loan deal from Lorient - which allowed the German to join Schalke on loan - has been interpreted as having a knock-on effect on fellow centre-back Stephen Welsh’s status. Following a spell out injured, the 23-year-old has returned to the bench for recent games. However, the return to full fitness for Cameron Carter-Vickers, coupled with Yuki Kobayashi’s presence, could squeeze out the club’s fourth choice central defender from a place in the matchday squad for the confrontation with Dundee United at Tannadice. Even with that backdrop, and the fact he hasn’t featured since October, Welsh was always set to stay put for now, it would seem.
“There was speculation but he [Welsh] wasn’t likely to leave,” said the Celtic manager. “I thought Moritz did really well for us. He hadn’t played a lot over the second half of the year in France and we picked him up. The whole idea was to bring him into the environment so we got him on a loan with an option to buy. I thought he did well for us but obviously as the season went on I was really keen to bring in Yuki Kobayashi, who I had been tracking as a left-sided centre-back. Once we got that deal done it meant that there was going to be limited opportunities for someone like Moritz.
“Because he was on loan and we couldn’t make a decision on whether we would trigger the clause to buy him, it made sense to have a discussion with him. We said that if another opportunity came up that was going to be good for his career then we wouldn’t stand in his way. I think he loved his time here. He contributed to our football and he had some great experiences, including Champions League. Hopefully his career continues to progress from here.”
Career progress, meanwhile, isn’t going to be forthcoming at Celtic for completely out of the picture trio James McCarthy, Oliver Abilgaard and Yosuke Ideguchi. Fresh starts for all three in the next few days would be best for all concerned, Postecoglou effectively acknowledges. “We’ll see,” he said. “I’m in dialogue with those guys. It’s not about forcing people out but there is a realism in terms of how much opportunity you get to play. If you mention those three, they are at an age where the less football they play the fewer options they will have. They have to assess what’s best for their careers. As I said I’m in dialogue with them and we will see what happens in the last days of the window. If nothing happens then they are still part of our group and we will work with them accordingly.”