The January 2020 transfer window closed with Celtic signing Patryk Klimala and Ismaila Soro, while Lewis Morgan and Scott Sinclair left the club. In addition, Eboue Kouassi and Jack Hendry, as well as several youth players, left on loan.
With two left wingers out (or on their way out), Mikey Johnston’s injury on Wednesday set the club off looking for cover for that position. If we continue to play three at the back, this will be less of a concern, but Neil Lennon’s other regular formation, with four at the back, requires two wingers. It will be a couple of weeks before Mohamed Elyounoussi is back to full fitness, so James Forrest will carry much of the burden until then.
My big concern is in central defence. We have the headcount in this area, but the two covering players, Jozo Simunovic and Nir Bitton have endured another season of injury, we are vulnerable. Hatem Elhamed plays both right and centre back, so should be able to provide cover. Like Moi, he is working towards full fitness. You can chart your own expectations on when he is Hatem is back and Jozo is next injured.
Ismaila Soro is likely to be used sparingly over the next few weeks as he adjusts to living in northern Europe, but I have hopes for him. We need a player we can rely on when Callum McGregor or Scott Brown need a rest. Patryk Klimala looks to have pace and a directness in front of goal. He will give the manager options.
Despite the hero-status I attach to Scott Sinclair, those who have left contributed next to nothing this season, so should not be a miss between now and May. The transfer window litmus test: Stronger or Weaker, will hopefully be passed. What we know for certain is that we will not be significantly stronger or weaker. This was a window of the margins. Given the importance of this season, that fact is frustrating.
We now have our squad for what will either be our second nine-in-a-row season and possible fourth consecutive treble (!), or something considerably less glorious. They are the strongest squad in the country, with the best manager in the country, do not bet against them.
The job starts with three consecutive games in Lanarkshire, the first time in our 132-year history this is the case (if I momentarily stop claiming Glasgow as part of the County). History is ours for the making, let’s get it done.