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.