It’s now over a month since Brendan Rodgers was appointed the manager of Celtic, and many fans had hoped to see a few new signings by now.
Instead, the focus so far has been on trimming the squad and assessing the existing players. This hasn’t stopped the rumours flying though, and with the Champion’s League qualifiers rapidly approaching, here are four players who have already been linked with Celtic and would be fantastic additions to Rodgers’ new side.
Leigh Griffiths had a fantastic season for Celtic last year, banging in 40 goals and winning both the Scottish Players’ and Writers’ Player of the Year awards. However, there is currently no viable back-up, competition or partner for Griffiths within the current Celtic squad. Brendan Rodgers has already spoken about having flexible formations, which further reinforces the need for some support for Griffiths.
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One option who has been recently linked to Celtic is Moussa Dembele. The 19-year-old Fulham striker is a hugely exciting talent, whose list of suitors includes the very top teams in England and abroad. Normally, this would rule Celtic out of the race, but his agent Frank Lebouef has recently gone on record to state that how much football Dembele is likely to play will be key in his decision.
Rodgers has already claimed that he is under no restrictions in terms of a salary cap, so the combination of first team football and the possibility of gaining Champions League experience may just be enough to persuade the young French star that his next move should be to Celtic. As he is now out of contract, Celtic could be required to pay compensation of as little as £250,000 to secure his signature.
Centre-half was already a position which required strengthening this summer. However, with injuries to Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic, and Charlie Mulgrew still to sign a new contract, the need to get someone in for the Champions League qualifiers is pressing.
At 35-years-old, Kolo Toure would certainly not be one for the future. However, the hugely experienced Ivorian international showed enough in his appearances for Liverpool last season to suggest that he is still more than capable of performing at the top level.
The former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool defender is currently a free agent, so there would be no transfer outlay for Celtic, although his wages could prove a stumbling block. The Daily Mail have reported that Brendan Rodgers is keen to make him his first major signing, and Toure could be the steadying influence that Celtic need at the back.
Rodgers has worked with Toure before, and the timing could be perfect for both parties.
The 21-year-old will already be familiar to Celtic fans, having scored both home and away for Molde in their victories over Celtic in last season’s Europa League group stage.
The Moroccan-born Norwegian international can play through the centre or on either wing and has 42 goals in 91 appearances for Molde. His form has already attracted the interest of Premier League champions Leicester, according to ESPN, but the player himself has revealed Celtic's interest in the past .
If Leicester’s interest proves to be concrete, then Celtic may struggle to compete, but Elyounoussi may consider that the Scottish champions would give him a higher probability of more game time, which is vital at this stage in his career.
If Celtic could persuade him to sign on, then his versatility across the front line would be a huge asset for Rodgers as he attempts to introduce more flexibility into their playing style.
One thing Celtic are not short of at the moment is midfielders. They have 15 on their books but none of them quite offer what Thomas Delaney would.
There is a heavy bias towards attacking midfielders in the current squad, while the 24-year-old FC Copenhagen star is a much more defensive-minded midfielder.
Celtic do have a few options for that role. Stefan Johansen is one but has a lot to do to claim a regular starting place, following an extremely poor season under Ronny Deila.
Likewise, Nir Bitton has undoubted talent but flattered to deceive for most of last season. Meanwhile, Rodgers has already spoken about the importance of Scott Brown to his plans, but the 31-year-old captain has had a number of injury problems in recent years.
Danish international Delaney, on the other hand, should just be coming into his prime. He has spent his whole career at FC Copenhagen and has grown in importance to the team, having captained the Danes for the last couple of seasons.
In addition, he has no shortage of experience in the Champions League and Europa League. He has previously been linked to Celtic in The Sun, and with just one year remaining on his contract, he could be available for a reasonable transfer fee.
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