Why Celtic must do the smart thing and sign Connor Roberts
Connor Roberts has enjoyed a fairytale rise. The 23-year-old has been on Swansea City’s books since the age of nine. However, he endured disappointing loan spells at Middlesbrough and Bristol Rovers, managing a total of nine appearances. The Wales international has admitted that at one time he feared he’d have to spend his career plying his trade in the lower leagues.
But Roberts has enjoyed a breakthrough year for club and country. He has established himself as a Swansea regular while also ousting Wales’ favourite Chris Gunter from the right-back spot. This season, Roberts has featured in all 17 of Swansea’s Championship games, scoring twice and registering an assist. He has also featured in four of Wales’ Nations League games. He scored his first Wales goal against the Republic of Ireland.
The Swansea academy graduate is yet to agree to a new contract at Liberty Stadium. With his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, Roberts could sign a pre-contract deal with another club in January and depart for free in the summer.
According to Daily Record, former Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers has been monitoring the situation at the Championship side. Swansea City are currently 8th on the table and have the division’s second-best defensive record. The Swans have conceded 13 goals so far and only Middlesbrough, who have let in eight goals, have a better record. Connor Roberts has been a key cog in the Swansea City backline.
The Scottish defending champions have identified the 23-year-old as an ideal option at full-back (h/t Daily Record). During the summer window, Celtic were in the market for a right-back but missed out on Italian defender Cristiano Piccini who joined Valencia (h/t Wales Online).
Roberts has put in a series of impressive performances and would provide competition for Swedish international Mikael Lustig, who has struggled for consistency this year.
Interestingly, Lustig’s contract at Parkhead also expires at the end of the season. Despite putting in several impressive attacking displays when given the chance, Cristian Gamboa has never established himself for the Hoops.
Hence, if Lustig does leave the club once his contract expires, it would provide Roberts with the chance to claim the right-back spot in Glasgow. Roberts is a talented and promising young right-back and has already been capped seven times by Wales.
At 23, he’d represent a long-term investment for Celtic. His ability to operate anywhere down the right flank, and occasionally as a left-back, would make him a valuable asset for the Bhoys.