Our two loan signings on the final day of the transfer window, Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers, have been crucial to the (presumptive) outcome of the league title, the latter more so than the former; Cameron could easily have won Player of the Year. Despite this, it is Jota who is the more important to secure on a permanent deal.
Having watched Newco suffocate our midfield twice in a month and Bodo/Glimt do the same earlier in the year, to the extent that we struggled to build periods of possession, never mind attacks, we need to answer the question, why was this?
When our central defenders have the ball, they face options of either trying to find a full back or Callum McGregor, or hope that someone further up field is in space. Those options were snuffed out by Newco, causing a nervousness as players took possession with an opponent breathing down his neck.
What would Kristoffer do?
Kristoffer Ajer would step forward with the ball, drawing opponents off their markers and immediately creating space. He could then play a short pass or, if he was not challenged, continue a run through the middle.
It is reasonable to claim Celtic have the best two central defenders in the league, even the previously maligned Carl Starfelt is a model of solidity. The problem is, neither can carry the ball forward as effectively as Kris Ajer. We need at least one central defender with this attribute, preferably two.
Ange Postecoglou is not going to change the way we play. Next season you will see our central defenders in possession looking at man-marked team-mates. We either address an identifiable problem, or we are in for more of the same.
The first job of a defender is to defend, and we all remember the shambles of last season, even with Kris, but despite my fondness for Cameron and Carl in this respect, we need a rethink.