CELTIC continue to “stumble around in the dark” as they fail to hit the fast forward button with a summer upheaval almost upon them.
Former midfield star Kris Commons has urged his old club to get a move on – or face being left in the slipstream of Steven Gerrard’s side who are already preparing for the new campaign.
The one-time Scotland international midfielder is concerned the Hoops might lose their way with the appointment of Neil Lennon’s successor dragging on since the Irishman departed in February.
ALARM BELLS…Vasilis Barkas is beaten for Ferencvaros’ winning goal in the Champions League qualifier.
Eddie Howe remains favourite for the position and any new boss will have to hit the ground running in terms of recruitment after last summer’s debacle when the newcomers such as Vasilis Barkas and Albian Ajeti struggled throughout a dire term.
Commons, 37, said: “Just as was the case 12 months ago, Rangers look intent on getting their summer transfer business done nice and early.
“The pre-contract signing of Zambian striker Fashion Sakala is a clear statement of intent about how the club will be looking to build on what is already a position of strength. In truth, you could even look as far back as January when they tied up deals to sign Jack Simpson, Scott Wright and Nnamdi Ofoborh.
“Since arriving in October 2019, Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson has worked with Steven Gerrard to implement a very clear and defined recruitment structure.
“The club have reaped the ultimate reward by winning this year’s league title and they have no intention of resting on their laurels.”
Commons, writing in his Daily Mail column, added: “In comparison, Celtic continue to stumble around in the dark. They are about to embark on the biggest overhaul of players in a generation, yet don’t even have a manager in place.
“The Eddie Howe saga shows no obvious sign of ending any time soon and it’s now getting to the stage where some fans have genuine concerns over whether the deal will happen at all. Celtic are dragging their heels and have no clear plan of action in place, while Rangers are charging ahead with signings for next season.
NEW BHOY…Liam Shaw celebrates a goal for Sheffield Wednesday.
“Gerrard clearly wants his squad in place by the time the Champions League qualifiers come around. He obviously has no intention of wasting any time.”
So far, the only incoming player to the Hoops will be Liam Shaw, the versatile central defender/midfielder, who agreed a pre-contract in January and will quit Sheffield Wednesday who were relegated to the English third tier at the weekend.
Contrast that with the players who will be leaving with Jonjoe Kenny (Everton) and Diego Laxalt (AC Milan) heading back to their parent clubs. Shane Duffy has already rejoined Brighton while there is talk Celtic may attempt to sign Mohamed Elyounoussi on a third temporary contract from Southampton.
Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer will almost certainly be sold to the highest bidder and Ryan Christie will be free to talk to interested parties in the summer with his deal expiring in January.
Nir Bitton, too, could be on his way to the Parkhead exit with Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Be’er Sheva interested in talking the utility star back to Israel.