CELTIC have until Monday to get transfer deals pushed through if they hope to bring in new players to revitalise a disappointing season.
There are obvious preoccupations at the champions at the moment which have stalled activity in the January window.
Neil Lennon has come in for ferocious criticism – even from former team-mates such as Chris Sutton and John Hartson – as the dreams of a historic tenth successive title fade under the welter of some wretched performances that have seen the champions plunge 23 points off the pace.
Critics are now talking about who could be leaving – with Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer, Ryan Christie, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic among the most often mentioned for an exit.
Amid the frenzy of speculation and innuendo, CQN has looked at the current contract situations at Parkhead.
FRENCH LEAVE…Odsonne Edouard has been caught up in a storm of speculation since the summer.
Remarkably, skipper Scott Brown is the ONLY Celtic full-time regular due to become a free agent at the end of the season. The much-decorated midfield warhorse, who has won a sensational 22 medals at the Hoops, turns 36 in June and the smart money is on the inspirational onfield leader being offered a 12-month extension.
The loan deals will also expire for Shane Duffy (Brighton), Diego Laxalt (AC Milan) and Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton) with all three almost certainly heading back to their parent clubs.
Edouard, Ajer, Christie and Ntcham are all signed players until June 2022 and Rogic, who almost quit in the summer for Qatar, has an extra year on his deal.
There should not be even the hint of any off-the-field upheaval from agents trying to make a buck while attempting to persuade their clients to agree pre-contract arrangements with clubs elsewhere.
So, there is no need for the Parkhead club to rush into parting with any player who still figures in the manager’s plans while there does not appear to be the prospect of any spectacular big-money swoops.
In any case, as former Hoops ace Kris Commons brutally pointed out in CQN yesterday, he would not trust recruitment chief Nick Hammond with another penny of a transfer fund.
BLACK AND WHITE…Ryan Christie is under contract until the summer of 2022.
The summer transfers have been roundly criticised and it’s clear the club have not got value for money on the £4.5million spent on underachieving keeper Vasilis Barkas and £5million striker Albian Ajeti who has claimed the total of five meagre goals since his arrival from West Ham where he was jettisoned by Davie Moyes.
The £2million paid for Republic of Ireland centre-back Duffy hasn’t returned a dividend, either, with the defender struggling to settle at his boyhood heroes.
A year ago, the club spent £5.5million in bringing in Polish frontman Patryk Klimala and Ivorian midfielder Ismail Soro.
Both are under contract until June 2024, but the striker has failed to impress while the anchorman has shown promise since coming into the team for the 3-2 win over Lille in the Europa League last month.
There WILL be changes in the summer, but who is doing the buying and who is doing the recruiting and who is in charge of departures is open to conjecture at the moment.
One thing which is certain is the state of play of the current contracts.
Here is the up-to-date details:
Vasilis Barkas: May 31, 2024
Scott Bain: May 31, 2023
Conor Hazard: June 30, 2023
Shane Duffy: May 31, 2021 (loan)
Christopher Jullien: June 30, 2023
Kristoffer Ajer: May 31, 2022
Hatem Abd Elhamed: May 31, 2023
Diego Laxalt: June 30, 2021 (loan)
Greg Taylor: June 30, 2023
Boli Bolingoli: May 31, 2023
Andrew Gutman: June 30, 2022
Jeremie Frimpong: June 30, 2023
Anthony Ralston: May 31, 2022
Manny Perez: June 30, 2022
Nir Bitton: May 31, 2023
Ismaila Soro: June 30, 2024
Luca Connell: May 31, 2023
Callum McGregor: May 31, 2024
Olivier Ntcham: May 31, 2022
David Turnbull: May 31, 2024
Scott Brown: May 31, 2021
James Forrest: May 31, 2023
Ryan Christie: May 31, 2022
Tom Rogic: May 31, 2023
Mohamed Elyounoussi: June 30, 2021 (loan)
Mikey Johnston: June 30, 2025
Karamoko Dembele: June 30, 2022
Odsonne Edouard: June 30, 2022
Albian Ajeti: June 30, 2024
Patryk Klimala: June 30, 2024
Leigh Griffiths: May 31, 2022
Vakoun Issouf Bayo: June 30, 2022