Celtic have snapped up talented young Irish talent Jonathan Afolabi on a free transfer. The former Southampton striker is certainly something of an impressive addition. It was a surprise when the Saints decided to release him in the summer and Celtic have won the race to make him their own.
It looks like a signing for the future, rather than the present.
That said, speaking after Celtic’s hard-fought cup win against Dunfermline yesterday, Neil Lennon suggested Afolabi might be able to push for first-team football at Parkhead sooner rather than later. As reported by the Scottish Sun, the Celtic boss stated Afolabi in ‘on the cusp’ when it comes to deciding whether he is first-team ready.
“He’s here. He’s a young lad from Southampton, we’ve signed him on a free transfer and he’s one for development. I think it’s a two-year deal.
“He’s on the cusp, so he’ll come in and train with us and we’ll get a good look at him in the next couple of weeks.
“Then we’ll decide what we want to do with him in terms of where his progression is.”
Afolabi joins Celtic off the back of an excellent summer with his national team. The 19-year-old scored once as the Republic of Ireland under-19s made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-19 Championships in Armenia this summer. His form throughout the competition even saw him selected in the team of the tournament.
So if he can impress Lennon in the weeks to come it might not be a surprise to see Afolabi given a first-team chance at Celtic before the season is out.