Signing a 21-year-old Argentinian for a few million pounds breaches the box-office threshold around these parts. If left back Alexandro Bernabei clears his medical and joins Celtic, he will be the kind of addition to the squad that will have fans looking forward to the new season with renewed confidence.
I have seen too many bogus YouTube clip editions to pay any heed, we learn nothing there. What we know is that he has been scouted through our recently appointed resource and meets our criteria as a potential Champions League player.
He is still young and Parkhead is a long way from Rosario: the language, the food, living away from home, the weather, will all present encounters that will make any early performances a challenge. Fortunately, we all know signing 21-year-olds is not about the first month.
One of my strategic concerns about the Celtic squad is height. Last season’s excellent defensive stats were achieved with small central defenders and full backs. Bernabei is 2” shorter than Greg Taylor, who at 5’ 9” is an inch taller than Josip Juranovic.
Taylor is a couple of inches shorter than Kieran Tierney, while Mikael Lustig had a 4” advantage on Kieran. That’s a very real downsizing in a few years, albeit not in the common use of the phrase. We have plenty of ability middle to front, but not a lot of height there either.
Two years after Shunsuke Nakamura scored the only goal of the game against Manchester United to put Celtic into the knockout phase of the Champions League, the player was benched when the teams again met in the Champions League. Gordon Strachan spoke to Shunsuke before the game to explain the team was vulnerable at set plays due to a lack of height.
Naka was not short, but Gordon went with Barry Robson, who had a slight advantage and was more accomplished in the air. If I was facing Celtic next season, I would play for corners and free kicks. I expect we will see lots of this in the Premiership.