While interim boss John Kennedy may believe Celtic are still the best side in the Scottish Premiership, the next man through the door at Parkhead will be under no illusion that reinforcements in the summer transfer window are a must if they are to wrestle back footballing superiority from the blue side of Glasgow.
Here we look at five players we think the Hoops board should target if they are to make a real fist of challenging for next season’s Scottish Premiership title.
Harry Wilson – Midfield (Liverpool)
Still only 24-years-old, the Wrexham born midfielder could be allowed to leave Anfield this summer as Jurgen Klopp looks to strengthen a squad that has failed to live up to expectations this year. The playmaker is vastly experienced despite his age, in fact, he was Wales’ youngest ever debutant aged just 16 and has featured in over 130 games already.
With the Hoops hierarchy targeting Eddie Howe for the Parkhead hotseat it should be noted that Wilson flourished under him while on loan at Bournemouth last season, scoring seven goals in 31 English Premier League matches. The Welsh prodigy has continued his good form this season too and has been a stand out in the English Championship for Cardiff City, notching 11 assists for Mick McCarthy’s men.
Prior to that, he’d also been a key cog in Frank Lampard’s Derby County side, scoring an impressive 15 goals from the during the 2018/19 season.
The Bhoys are fairly well stocked when it comes to attacking midfield areas, but Wilson is younger than the likes of Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie with his best years to come.
Asmir Begovic – Goalkeeper (Bournemouth)
One of Celtic’s biggest struggles recently is having a goalkeeper they can 100% trust.
Vasilias Barkas has been a huge disappointment, and neither Scott Bain nor Conor Hazard have nailed down the number one jersey. Celtic have been hindered by the lack of a reliable goalkeeper.
A calm, experienced and confident ‘keeper is a priority for any incoming manager, and the Bosnian number one fits that profile perfectly. He’s had an excellent campaign on the south coast, keeping 15 clean sheets for Bournemouth as they chase an immediate return to the Premier League.
You don’t have to spend silly money to get him either, in fact, you don’t have to spend a penny, with the Cherries stopper out of contract in the summer and unlikely to be offered a new deal.
Ivan Toney – Striker (Brentford)
Chased by the club last summer, the Brentford forward has been the standout player in the Championship this term and is the perfect replacement for Odsonne Edouard.
Any move for the striker would be dependant on two factors, however. First of all – how much would Celtic be willing to pay for the forward? He certainly wouldn’t come cheap. Secondly, should Brentford be promoted this term, would the lure of the Premier League be too much to tempt Toney to move north?
With The Bees currently nine points behind automatic promotion though, it’s looking highly probable that they may need to navigate the play offs in order to gain promotion and any failure to do that would mean the lure of European football in Glasgow could just turn the 25-year-old’s head.
Moussa Marega – Striker (Porto)
The Malian hotshot has been linked to with a move to Parkhead for over a two years now, and while many fans felt a move for the highly rated Porto man was unlikely back in 2019, Merega has since become unsettled and is ready to make the move out of Portugal this summer.
Striking reinforcements will be needed at Parkhead with both Leigh Griffiths and Edouard likely to depart in the summer and, by signing Marega, Celtic would not only show that they really mean business this summer, but he would more than plug the gap left by Griffiths and Edouard.
Celtic won’t be the only club interested, with both Newcastle United and West Ham reportedly keeping tabs on the forward, but if they make a concrete move, they should be favourites to sign him.
Steve Cook – Defender (Bournemouth)
The defender has already been heavily linked with a move to Glasgow and could give the Hoops the defensive leadership that they have missed throughout the season.
A stalwart of Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team, he played a vital role in the teams rise to the Premier League and has been hailed by his former boss as an ‘unbelievable character’. With his contract running out in the summer, his signing would be a no brainer.
Celtic are desperate for defensive reinforcements after some horror shows this term, while links to the departure of Kristoffer Ajer just won’t go away.
If Howe did become Celtic’s new boss this summer, few would bet against the Cherries skipper following his former boss to Lennoxtown and the move would certainly improve the Hoops back line.
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