Celtic's high-profile signing told he was not good enough

SS Lazio v Celtic FC: Group E - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
SS Lazio v Celtic FC: Group E - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Ivan Romano/GettyImages

Celtic's 2023 summer transfer window appears to be mirroring the one from 2020. There has not been one standout signing. Luis Palma did well early on but even his performances have faded away in recent weeks. Other than the Honduran winger, nobody has even been a regular in the starting XI till now.

One can hope that they develop into first-team players for Celtic. But that is rarely the case at Parkhead. More often than not, those who struggle to make an early impression end up leaving a year or two later.

Celtic's high-profile signing of the summer was Nat Phillips. He had played first-team football for Liverpool, albeit rarely. And many felt that he could fill Carl Starfelt's absence, with the Swede leaving for Celta Vigo.

Unfortunately, Phillips has not impressed in a Celtic jersey. He has not been helped by the fact that he is a cover option and not playing regular football. And with the centre-back only on a half-season loan from Liverpool, he is expected to leave next month.

Celtic's high-profile signing told he was not good enough

As reported by Football Insider, Alan Hutton said about Phillips:

"With Phillips’ own goal, you can see he’s in the wrong position. He’s always running back towards his own goal and sliding in to make last-ditch tackles.

“The ball can go anywhere. His overall performance was not good enough.

“It’s not ideal that he’s not in the number one partnership at the back, that’s Liam Scales and Cameron Carter-Vickers, so being in and out can be difficult.

“But he definitely has to improve."

Phillips has not brought the quality to the defence that was expected. Of course, one could argue that he is not the right fit for Brendan Rodgers' style of football in the first place and the recruitment team have got it wrong.

Whatever may be the case, it is quite clear that it is not going to work out for Phillips at Celtic Park. Him returing to Liverpool in January seems pretty much inevitable.

He might not be the only one on his way out of Parkhead though. The futures of Yuki Kobayashi and Gustaf Lagerbielke, despite his Champions League heroics, appear to be uncertain as well.