Where Celtic could still strengthen before Champions League

At this present time, it's fair to say Celtic have very little chance of beating two of Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach for a spot in the Champions League knockout stages.

After Tuesday's loss in Israel, Celtic know there is work still to be done to complete the squad. Picture: SNS
After Tuesday's loss in Israel, Celtic know there is work still to be done to complete the squad. Picture: SNS

However, Celtic still have time to improve their squad further, and we all know the prestige of playing in the elite of European football allows clubs to recruit a higher standard of player.

So with five-and-a-bit days until the transfer window slams shut (because a transfer window doesn’t close any other way) we look at the areas Celtic should be looking to strengthen the most.

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Top priority - Striker

Leigh Griffiths backed up by Moussa Dembele is fine, but there is a real lack of depth behind the pair, which will present a problem if either of them are injured or Rodgers wants to start a match with a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 system. There are also remains a question mark of Griffiths’ ability to contribute in games where Celtic sit with 10 men behind the ball, as the striker becomes isolated and lacks the required tools to hold up play and haul his team up the park. Dembele can fill such a role, but we have to wonder if the young striker, at age 20, is ready to be someone Celtic can rely on in European football.

Secondary need - Right back

Mikael Lustig has starred for Celtic on a European level before, but we’ve yet to see him recapture the form he lost along with (near enough) two seasons to injury, and considering the toll those troubles could have taken on his body, we may not see him getting back to such a high level of performance.

Even if Lustig can, his history with injury troubles opens up the terrifying prospect of Saidy Janko, who had a nightmare against Hapoel Beer-Sheva, lining up against Barcelona and Manchester City.

Third on the list - Centre midfield

Callum McGregor has improve tremendously since moving from the wing to a deeper role in the heart of the Celtic midfield, so it would be a real shame of a burgeoning Scottish talent was marginalised by his club’s thirst for UCL success. But if Celtic want to seriously try and escape from this group, they’re going to have to add greater quality alongside Scott Brown at the base of the midfield.

Other considerations - Centre back, goalkeeper

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Erik Sviatchenko is a popular figure with the Celtic Park support, though even they would admit getting someone of Kolo Toure’s quality to play alongside the former Champions League finalist would greatly increase their chances of pulling off a shock. And while Rodgers is unlikely to go after another goalkeeper following the Dorus de Vries signing, the added clout of Champions League football may open the possibility for a top class custodian to fall into Celtic’s lap.

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