CELTIC have a new manager heading into the 2021/2022 season. After missing out on former Bournemouth gaffer Eddie Howe, the club have opted for Ange Postecoglou, a fiery Greek-Australian with a big reputation in his home country, as well as in the Far East.
Postecoglou may be a relatively unknown quantity in the UK, but the 55-year-old has plenty of experience under his belt that could serve him well at Parkhead. Having managed Australia at the 2014 World Cup, he has made an impact on the global stage. He’s also no stranger to winning league titles, which could be pivotal if Celtic are to win their tenth title in 11 years. His last domestic league triumph came in 2019, as Postecoglou guided Yokohama F. Marinos to the J League title.
Replacing star players could be crucial
However, for all that the new manager will be looking to get the very best out of the current crop of Celtic players, fans should also be expecting the Aussie to bring in a few new players of his own. With big-name striker Odsonne Edouard being linked with a move to Premier League, a replacement will likely be needed.
One such option to come in for the Frenchman could be a player that Postecoglou has already worked with: Ado Onaiwu. The 25-year-old striker has thrived under Postecoglou, scoring 13 goals and providing two assists in 23 appearances for Yokohama F. Marinos across all competitions last season.
He may not be the only striker that Celtic look to bring in either, as Patryk Klimala has already departed to join New York Red Bulls. Edouard is very much expected to leave, while Leigh Griffiths’ future looks uncertain at this point. Thus, the club might find themselves lacking options upfront very soon.
Could he bring Gauld back to Scotland this summer?
Another name that may be on the new Celtic manager’s wish list is Ryan Gauld, a young Scottish midfielder who is currently piling his trade for Portuguese outfit Farense. The 25-year-old first made his name with Dundee United, before moving to Sporting Lisbon as a teenager. Things didn’t quite work out as planned for Gauld at Sporting, but life at Farense has been a lot kinder to the playmaker.
Gauld has matured into a fine attacking midfielder, adding 20 goals in 71 outings for his current club. His injection of creativity could be very beneficial to Celtic, who are perhaps too over-reliant on the likes of James Forrest to make something happen in the final third.
Dealing with the loan exodus
An additional issue that Postecoglou will have to contend with next season is the sheer amount of crucial first-team players who have already left the club on loan. The likes of Shane Duffy, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Jonjoe Kenny and Diego Laxalt have all returned to their parent clubs, meaning that reinforcements will surely be needed – especially in wide areas.
It isn’t like the new boss only has to worry about domestic affairs either, as his first competitive test will be the upcoming Champions League qualifiers against the Danes of FC Midtjylland next month. With that in mind, squad depth looks set to be vital for a side that is currently losing a high number of valuable players. You can find odds on Celtic’s upcoming Champions League ties, as well as other football odds at Boylesports.
Whatever happens this summer, Postecoglou has an almighty task on his hands. Celtic are one of the very few clubs in European football that are expected to win every domestic trophy on offer, which creates a pressure cooker-like atmosphere for any manager brave enough to take up the challenge. However, a big transfer window, where stars names such as Ajer and Edouard are adequately replaced, and depth is also added, would go a long way towards achieving those goals.
Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox squad will surely be strong again next season and Celtic’s new head coach certainly won’t have it easy in the first few months, but if he can get the club’s partisan fans on board, the momentum could gather very quickly indeed.
Watch this space, ahead of what is set to be a frantic transfer window for the Hoops.