Back in March 2014 then-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was speaking up the talents of his defender Glen Johnson. The Northern Irishman was trying to ensure the England international had his contract extended, with just one year remaining on the deal.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo he had this to say about Johnson:
“It’s important for me with how we play that the full-backs can get up, join in and make runs in behind. We are seeing now the player we all know Liverpool had – which is one of the best full-backs in the world.”
That was pretty heavy praise from the Liverpool boss, who had nurtured a special relationship with the then 29-year-old defender.
That contract never came to fruition for the full-back, who joined Stoke City on a free transfer the following year.
But now, Rodgers might have the best opportunity to work with his former star right-back again. Johnson was released by Stoke City at the start of the month. His contract with the Potters was due to expire at the end of June and with the club relegated he was allowed to leave.
Johnson played just 10 games for Stoke last season, with the 33-year-old cast aside by the club.
Celtic could easily swoop. Rodgers is now manager at Parkhead and the right-back position is an area that needs improvement at the Scottish champions. With Mikael Lustig only supported by Cristian Gamboa, the Costa Rican who could leave after the World Cup, a new recruit would be welcomed in this position.
Johnson is certainly not of the standard he once was. Injury trouble and inaction has seen his talents diminish. However, he does still have two Premier League trophies and over 50 caps for England.
At one point he and Rodgers had a very special working relationship and bringing Johnson back into his clutches could be a smart move. His experience at the elite European level should prepare him for a role in Scottish football in his advancing years.
Johnson would also surely relish the chance at getting one over his former buddy and colleague Steven Gerrard, now manager at Old Firm rivals Rangers.
If Celtic can agree to a reasonable wage packet, then Johnson would be a brilliant recruit this summer.
Despite poor World Cup Giorgian De Arrascaeta would be incredible Celtic signing
Celtic are being linked with a shock move for the Uruguayan.
Celtic have been linked with a shock transfer move this week. According to reports, the Bhoys are keen on the signature of Uruguayan midfielder Giorgian De Arrascaeta.
The Sun initially reported that the 24-year-old would cost Celtic a fee in the region of £18 million. However, the Daily Record now suggests that asking price is inflated and Celtic will be able to afford the £10 million-plus asking price Cruzeiro have for the playmaker.
Of course, the talented La Celeste midfielder was with his nation at this summer’s World Cup. Uruguay made it to the quarter-finals of the competition, losing to eventual winners France.
But it was not a great personal performance from the player. He started the competition in the starting XI against Egypt. However, with Uruguay playing poorly and De Arrascaeta barely touching the ball, he was hauled off.
He was subsequently dropped to the bench for the next four games of the competition, making a brief appearance against Russia in their group dead-rubber.
However, his poor form at the World Cup should not put Celtic off.
De Arrascaeta has been thriving in Brazil for a number of years and been tipped with a move to a host of top European clubs in recent years.
In fact, his difficult World Cup may have done Celtic a favour, with competition to sign him not as fierce as expected.
In Scottish football, he would be an absolute phenomenon. If Celtic can secure a transfer, then it would leave the rest of the nation trembling.
Celtic fans will be keeping an eye on £3m flop Teemu Pukki
The Finnish striker struggled during his spell at Celtic.
Norwich City snapped up a new recruit this week with the arrival of Teemu Pukki from Brondby on a free transfer. The 28-year-old arrives on a three-year deal and the Championship club will be hoping he can find the form he did in Denmark. He scored 25 goals in 36 games for the Danish side last season and the Canaries will hope he can take them to the next level in front of goal.
For Celtic fans, his turn of form and recent deal are something of a surprise.
The Bhoys snapped up Pukki from Schalke 04 in the summer of 2013 after he had struggled to shine in German football. The deal cost a reported £3 million and he was expected to be a hit. He was signed as a replacement for Gary Hooper, who had ironically headed to Norwich.
On paper it looked a good deal but, for whatever reason, things did not work out for Pukki at Celtic. He scored on his debut but soon enough the goals and his form left him. He managed just nine goals in 37 games for Celtic before joining Danish side Brondby, initially on loan, in 2014.
Pukki struggled to find the level necessary in Scotland but it would appear that his experience at Celtic has helped form him into a far better player.
Celtic fans are unlikely to wish he was still at Parkhead. When it comes to goals they are blessed with the talents of Odsonne Edouard, Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths.
But no doubt Celtic fans will be keeping an eye on his progress in the Championship, as Pukki tries to crack the UK for the second time in his career.
He is not worth £50m but Dedryck Boyata has proved a point this summer
Celtic’s Belgian defender has silenced many doubters this summer
Earlier this week former Celtic hero John Hartson received some ridicule after suggesting the club’s central defender Dedryck Boyata might be worth £50 million. While that is not the case and the Welshman addressed so in the Glasgow Evening Times, he has proven a lot this summer.
Which is why it would have hurt that he found himself dropped to the bench for Belgium’s lucky escape against Japan last night. Vincent Kompany replaced him now fully fit and Boyata did little to deserve being demoted.
He was excellent in the group stages, especially the game with England. He had Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy under control throughout the game and proved himself worthy of transfer talk.
Boyata also helped to prove something about Scottish football. The game north of the border gets a rough deal from some fans considering the standard of play and football.
But there are some incredible exceptions such as Virgil van Dijk or Andrew Robertson who can go on and achieve positive things away from Scotland.
If Celtic receive a handsome offer based on Boyata’s World Cup displays this summer then they will no doubt snap it up. The Belgian has now done all he can to prove he can cut it away from Parkhead.