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Celtic

Three players Celtic should target in the summer transfer window

Ruari Macneil

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It is fair to say that Celtic have not hit the heights that they experienced last season, when Brendan Rodgers took the nation by storm in his first season in Scottish football to lead his boyhood club to an emphatic unbeaten domestic treble.

The bar was set extremely high after 2016/2017, and was always going to be difficult to match, and to give the team credit they have still only lost two league games this season and look on course to win a second domestic treble in a row; a stunning achievement in itself.

Nevertheless, the Hoops must look to strengthen in the summer as they prepare to go again next term, looking to seal a third domestic treble, delve further into European competition and, most importantly, stretch their run of consecutive league victories to eight, bringing them within two of the much sought after 10-in-a-row.

Some areas of the pitch require strengthening more than others, and here are three players the Bhoys should definitely be considering when the window opens in just over a month.

David Marshall

The goalkeeping position is one that has caused Celtic major stresses this season. Following an injury to Craig Gordon, Dorus de Vries was exposed as being an inadequate backup option as a number of shaky performances led to him being dropped, requiring Scott Bain to be brought in on loan.

Next season, Gordon will start the campaign aged 35, and will swiftly turn 36 in December. Given his history with injuries, which have come back to haunt him this season, it would be foolish to solely put faith in a veteran of his age.

Marshall, 33, knows what it is all about to play in the green and white, having made his professional debut at the club and staying for around three seasons. During that time, he won four major trophies and was highly regarded by the fans, and he only moved on due to lack of playing time as Artur Boruc’s backup.

The Scotland goalkeeper would make a fine addition to the goalkeeping options, and would no doubt relish a move away from Hull City, where he is currently a bench-warmer.

Jason Denayer 

Jason Denayer is another player who has a history of playing for Celtic, and similarly made his professional debut in the green and white back in 2014 while on loan from Manchester City. Still currently owned by the Premier League champions, Denayer is playing his football on loan at Galatasaray; his second spell in Turkey.

During his time at Celtic, the Belgian youngster developed into a fine centre-half, and would undoubtedly shore up the questionable Hoops defence that has caused them so much trouble throughout the season. At 22, Denayer has his whole career ahead of him and would be a great investment, even if he arrived with a sizeable price tag.

With over 110 games playing in Scotland, the Premier League and the Turkish top flight, Denayer is as experienced as they come at 22, and could be a great compliment to the taller and less agile Kristoffer Ajer in the heart of defence.

Demetri Mitchell

Manchester United youngster Demetri Mitchell joined Hearts on loan in January and looked terrific before picking up a season-ending injury that has since seen him return to England to receive treatment.

The young left-back made nine appearances for the Tynecastle club and looked completely unfazed as he was thrust into the starting line-up by Craig Levein. Having spent a decade in the United youth academy, Mitchell has a strong footballing pedigree and, with the Hoops looking to bring in a left-back to cover Kieran Tierney, the 21-year-old may be a perfect option.

With United most likely unwilling to part ways with their starlet on a permanent basis, perhaps a loan deal could be brokered, on a year-long or 18-month basis, similar to that of Patrick Roberts or Charly Musonda, to allow the youngster to come north of the border and enjoy a proper stint with a new team in the hope of aiding his development.

Life long lover of sport in general with a soft spot for football. A consistent defender of Scottish football as a spectacle. Desperately waiting to see my country qualify for a major tournament.

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Celtic

Erik Sviatchenko could be like a new signing for Celtic next season

The Danish defender spent the second half of the season away from Celtic on loan.

Mathew Coull

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January saw Celtic decide to let Danish defender Erik Sviatchenko make a move back to his former club FC Midtjylland on loan. The centre-back was having an indifferent campaign at Celtic. After suffering a knee injury at the start of the season he found himself struggling for first-team football at Parkhead. Kristoffer Ajer’s development into a central defender and the presence of Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic saw him pushed out of the matchday squad altogether.

It was a shame to see him pushed out in this manner. Sviatchenko had an excellent 2016-17 campaign with the club, playing 43 times for the Scottish club and establishing himself as a genuine first-team option.

(Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sviatchenko had shown great development in his 18 months at the club. He joined the club in a £1.5 million deal from FC Midtjylland in January 2016 and it appeared Celtic had a bargain on their hands.

But after his struggles this season, perhaps Celtic is a step up he cannot quite handle.

Although, the opposite might also be true. In fact, the £1.5 million man might actually be like a new signing this summer.

Sviatchenko had an excellent spell back at his former club. He quickly played himself back into the first-team at the club. His presence helped an inspired run toward the Danish Superliga title.

(Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

In the end, they managed to overturn the points lead that Brondby had and this week won the league title for the second time in their short history.

His form has shown that he is still more than capable of playing a role for Celtic. His season was decimated by that injury at an extremely unfortunate time from which he could not get back into a settled and successful team.

But this summer, he will have a chance in pre-season to push for first-team football at Celtic once again.

Fans who remember his better days in a Celtic shirt will be happy to welcome him back, as he could become a crucial member of the Celtic squad once again in 2018-19.

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Celtic

Celtic’s Kieran Tierney could replace Danny Rose at Tottenham, despite large fees

Celtic have slapped a £30 million price tag on the 20-year-old.

Josh Kerr

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Tierney
Photo: Getty Images

Kieran Tierney is another emerging star from the Scottish Premier League and his current club Celtic are already preparing for the top English clubs to come swooping this summer.

According to Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers’ side have committed to a £30 million asking price to deflect the advances of the likes of Tottenham, who are said to be considering a move for the 20-year-old.

Despite the large fee, Spurs should not be put off making an approach. The young Scotsman would be the ideal long-term replacement for Danny Rose whose departure from North London looks inevitable this summer.

The Lilywhites have reportedly been watching Tierney throughout the season, with his performances for the Hoops impressing.

His displays in the Champions League, despite encountering a challenging group, including Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain, will have impressed Mauricio Pochettino and it this level of talent that could see Spurs swoop for the left-back.

The departure of Danny Rose appears imminent, with the Englishman likely to leave after an 11-year spell with the Lilywhites and his exit will leave Spurs need to ensure they are able to sign a top quality replacement and the Celtic academy prospect could just do that.

At just 20, he is already thriving in his home country winning title after title, and already looks ready for a big-money move to fulfil his outstanding potential. In a Spurs side that relies on the attacking quality of its full-backs, Tierney would fit right in.

However, the player is under contract until 2023 after signing a new six-year deal last season, meaning the Scottish champions are in no rush to sell.

Having said this, an offer from the Premier League and a side capable of reaching the latter stages in Europe would prove difficult to turn down. If Spurs are able to meet Celtic’s asking price, it will be interesting to see if the Hoops would be willing to turn down such a significant fee.

The sale of Rose will most likely be enough to fund Tierney’s move and many Spurs fans will be eager to see their side launch a raid for Celtic’s most promising young talent.

Spurs will not want to break the bank for a Rose replacement. However, if the Lilywhites are to continue progressing under Pochettino then they need to ensure the board match the ambition of the fans by ensuring maximum strength in every position of the pitch.

Tierney has already established himself as one of Britain’s top full-backs and a move to the Premier League could take the Scotland international to the next level in his development.

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Celtic

Celtic’s historic treble cements place as the dominant force of Scottish football

Brendan Rodgers’ side secured a second successive treble this weekend.

Martyn Cooke

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Brendan Rodgers
Photo: Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon, whilst much of the world’s attention was focused on the historic Royal wedding taking place at Windsor, Celtic were busy making their own piece of history in the Scottish Cup Final.

Goals from Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham secured a comfortable victory against Motherwell and means that Celtic have now secured back-to-back domestic trebles to cement their position as the dominant force in Scottish football.

After going the entirety of last season undefeated in domestic competitions, many onlookers were left wondering what more the club achieve in the subsequent season. Although they were not able to repeat that feat this campaign, Celtic ensured that they would break a different record by becoming the first team to win successive trebles.

It is a remarkable feat. Neither Jock Stein or Martin O’Neill were able to ensure such dominance despite the legendary teams that they both developed, which leads us to Brendan Rodgers.

When the Northern Irishman arrived in Scotland two years ago he came with his reputation having taken something of a beating by the media and supporters south of the border.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

He had risen to prominence during a successful spell with Swansea City, which ultimately earned him a move to Liverpool in 2012.

Initially he had made good progress at Anfield, coming within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the Premier League title in 2013/14, yet the departure of Luis Suarez and poor decisions in the transfer market resulted in a sharp decline in performances and results in subsequent years.

Rodgers was sacked in October 2015, departing with no silverware to show for his efforts, and was left wondering what might have been. His initial impact at Liverpool was quickly forgotten – he was branded a failure and unsuitable for management at a so-called ‘big’ club.

However, the 45-year-old has rebuilt his reputation in Glasgow and has reinvented himself as one of the leading coaches in British football.

He has moulded Celtic into serial winners and the team play with pace, energy, style and swagger that produces football which is blissfully simply, yet joyous to watch.

Rodgers has created a club that has cemented its position at the summit of Scottish football and that has been so dominant over the last two years that it is difficult to see anyone toppling them.

Critics will automatically highlight the financial disparity that exists between Celtic and the remainder of the Scottish Premier League as the defining factor of Rodgers’ success.

Whilst that is true to an extent, it fails to explain why previously Celtic managers have been unable to produce the same level of dominance in previous years?

If the task of winning back-to-back trebles or going an entire domestic campaign unbeaten is so easy, why has it never been done before?

The truth is that Rodgers has taken Celtic onto the next level and, whilst money does play a part, it is his coaching, man management and playing philosophy that have been the most pertinent factors. He and the team should rightfully bask in the plaudits and glory of the previous two campaigns.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It is ironic to think that, prior to moving to Glasgow, Rodgers’ management career had lacked any tangible reward in terms of silverware.

Now he has won six trophies in two years.

However, there is still a sense that the Northern Irishman has work to do at Celtic. Their performances in domestic competitions have not been replicated in Europe and there is still certainly room for improvement on that account.

Then there is the imminent arrival of Steven Gerrard at Glasgow Rangers.

His appointment has generated considerable interest and intrigue in the Scottish game with some suggesting that his arrival could mark the start of club’s resurgence and re-emergence as a genuine force.

It remains to be seen what Gerrard’s impact will be at Ibrox, but there is little doubt that Rodgers would like nothing more than to swat away any challenge from his former captain and to discourage any sort of revival by Celtic’s cross-city rivals.

Any sense that Celtic supporters are becoming bored by their club’s dominance have not been apparent during the previous couple of months. The scale and sound of their celebrations in recent weeks suggests that they are thoroughly enjoying their moment in the spotlight.

And so they should. There team is making history and, judging by the previous two years, they will have plenty to celebrate in the future.

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