The time left before the window slams shut or closes quietly for Celtic can now be measured in hours. While there may be a rush to get a player signed, the deadline offers closure on who is staying too.
It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride in so many ways over the summer as far as the transfer window is concerned. Overall Celtic fans should be pleased at some quality signings arriving on a mix of permanent and loan deals. Seasoned players, goal scorers, tough battlers who will help get the team through a difficult season.
But Celtic fans often want more and will highlight gaps where they feel the club could and should have done more. So what’s the last priorities for the hoops in the remaining hours? Where would we want Neil Lennon, Peter Lawwell and Nick Hammond and their teams most active today?
A first priority is that nothing much or significant happens. On players leaving that is of course. Much talk over the summer of possible exits for Kris Ajer, Tom Rogic and of course Odsonne Edouard. Let’s keep them all please.
Having said that, definite fringe players so far from the first team that they need binoculars can leave permanently or on loan. Jack Hendry’s loan and Kundai Benyu’s move to Wealdstone are good examples of positive exits. Others, closer to the first team, getting experience and game time out on loan, in the manner of Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor in the past, are definitely good opportunities too. But first team stars must stay.
For any more players coming in, the left back position still remains an obvious and risky gap. It’s risky due to the lack of real cover there for Greg Taylor. It’s essential also to provide quality competition for Taylor, given the loss of Johnny Hayes and Boli Bolingoli’s hopefully one way loan deal.
Exciting options on rumours over recent weeks seem to have dwindled away leaving Alfie Doughty as the main one we know of remaining. Although breaking news suggested Diego Laxalt a Uruguayan player at AC Milan could be on his way if rumours in Italy reaching here are correct. There is also Andrew Gutman’s US loan deal coming to an end later this year.
Celtic do though have a habit of signings we weren’t expecting suddenly emerging. So let’s see what happens for left back.
Elsewhere in defence it’s possible we may see a further centre half arrive for cover, but that is perhaps more in the nice to have and lower quality territory than a top notch defender like Duffy.
There is talk of a wing player, Patrick Roberts has been mentioned in the past but may still be heading back to Middlesbrough and may not quite fit Lennon’s bill.
The rumours of Robert Snodgrass on loan weren’t expected. But if a priority is to get more experience, skill and quality from players who can battle, then if it comes off it’s a good move and may add strength and width. It does feel much less likely now with club sources now indicating no real interest. And another wide player doesn’t feel like it’s urgent for the current squad.
A striker arriving now seems unlikely too, there are still question marks with Griffiths and Klimala but both provided further positive answers in Sunday’s win at St Johnstone.
It has been a very good window so far, but the general view is likely to be tarnished or seen differently if a left back of one form or another doesn’t arrive. That’s the undoubted priority. Patience isn’t always present amongst hoops fans when such an obvious gap has been there for such a long time.