T minus 35 hours as the transfer window reaches its interesting stage, as clubs make consider what their final options will be. Celtic have an already bloated squad and are looking to offload in several areas, while hoping to add a left back, striker and possibly keeper.
The left back requirement was originally for backup to Greg Taylor, while a striker is required as cover (and an in-game sub) for Kyogo. There are short-term concerns at both acquiring positions. Greg’s recent injury means he could be out for games away to Aberdeen, Hibs and St Mirren.
Japan and South Korea’s continued participation in the Asian Cup means we are without Oh, our normal alternate for Kyogo, and Daizen Maeda, who has played through the middle when required.
Celtic are considering various options for both positions. How far down the list to do you go, when the acute need is only for cover, and only then for a few weeks? It is easy to say ‘We’ll not bother with another Nat Phillips-type profile’, but the reality is, there is uncertainty.
Anyone signed right now can ‘have a Kilmarnock’, as Nat did, or we could be left without a recognised striker, pricking memories of playing Lewis Morgan up front in the 2019 League Cup Final. No matter how sure you are, there is no right answer.
Hopefully, Gustaf Lagerbielke will get his move to Serie A. This season’s plan for central defence was that Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki would be first choice, with Gus next in line and Stephen Welsh fourth choice (and a useful Uefa B List option). Liam Scales was due to be punted to Aberdeen.
Injuries to Carter-Vickers, Nawrocki and Welsh saw Liam thrust into the Ibrox limelight, where he rose to occasion and has since been a confirmed revelation. A naturally left-sided central defender, he did enough to keep his place in the team, never mind the squad, so Gus has dropped from the roster, despite having performed well when asked.
David Turnbull has known a new contract was not on the table since Brendan Rodgers arrived in the summer. He was used on Saturday, but if the proposed move to Cardiff happened it would be a good outcome for the player.
Celtic rejecting an offer from Greece for James McCarthy sounds unusual, but that’s only because we don’t know the detail. If Celtic fold on exit terms for one player, they set a precedent that others know they can follow. James could walk away this afternoon with everyone’s best wishes, if he wanted to. We’ll see if anything happens.
We’re not short of wingers, at least, we won’t be when the Asian Cup ends, so there should be no surprise if Mikey Johnston makes an exit to the English Championship.
I’ve no idea how all the bed-wetters manage to get through the first 30 days of January, poor things.