Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers yesterday completed his year-long pursuit of Chelsea’s gifted young midfielder Charly Musonda but failed with an initial offer for Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
Musonda, 21, flew into Glasgow after terms were agreed on a loan deal which will keep him at Celtic until the end of next season. However, it was a day of mixed fortunes for Rodgers after he was hit with the news that goalkeeper Craig Gordon and striker Leigh Griffiths will each miss both legs of next month’s Europa League round-of-32 tie against Zenit St Petersburg because of injury.
Gordon suffered knee ligament damage in a clash with Hibs defender Efe Ambrose in Celtic’s 1-0 victory on Saturday and will not play again until at least the end of April. Last night Rodgers tried to plug the gap by signing Fir Park keeper Carson, a fellow Northern Irishman, but Motherwell rejected the Celtic manager’s advances.
“He’s going to be out for 12 weeks so that’s disappointing for him,” said Rodgers about Gordon. “It’s the ligament in the other knee to the one where he had problems before so he’ll be in a brace for six weeks.
“It’s one of those where you’re just happy it isn’t on the same knee he’d hurt previously. Craig’s a top professional and he’ll do the work to strengthen it again but I’m disappointed for him.
“We’ve got Dorus de Vries, who has been a loyal and terrific No 2, and he’ll get an opportunity. However, I think we’ll definitely have to get another keeper in; we’re looking at availability.”
Griffiths has fallen victim once again to a long-standing problem at a time when the chance was there for him to establish himself as the club’s No 1 front man.
“Leigh will probably be out for about four weeks,” said Rodgers. “It’s his calf, and he has ongoing issues with his calves really.
“I’m disappointed for him but, hopefully, we can get him back fitter and stronger and ready to go again. He’s going to have to work his way through it.”
Right-back Mikael Lustig was already a major doubt for the Zenit games as he is recovering from surgery which it is hoped will cure a recurring Achilles tendon problem.
“Hopefully, he’ll be back training within a couple of weeks as he’s been a real stalwart for me in terms of his availability, the number of games he’s played and his performances.”