Why Celtic must hold onto Dedryck Boyata for as long as they can
The centre-back position will be giving Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers sleepless nights heading into the winter transfer window. Whether Dedryck Boyata stays or departs will affect a lot of other key decisions at Parkhead this January. The defender’s contract will be up at the end of the year and the club must decide whether to cash in on the Belgium international or risk losing him for free at the end of the season.
Fulham were interested in signing Boyata in the summer. The newly-promoted Premier League side saw a £9m bid get rejected back in August. The Cottagers could still table a cut-price January bid for the Belgian since Boyata could do a decent job at Craven Cottage.
From his own admission, the offer from Fulham had turned Boyata’s head back in August. However, Celtic’s outright refusal to sanction a move away angered the centre-back (h/t Daily Record). As a result, Boyata went AWOL and even refused to travel to Greece for a Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens in a desperate bid to force through a move (h/t Daily Record).
But as things would unfold, Celtic crashed out of the Champions League and went into the Europa League. Since returning to Celtic’s first-team setup, Boyata has been an impressive performer. But Celtic risk being short of options at the back should they allow the 27-year-old to leave in January before finding a replacement.
And with Dedryck Boyata yet to agree to new terms at Parkhead, Celtic are effectively in a catch-22 situation. If they sell him in January, they risk being exposed at the heart of their defence. On the contrary, if they hold onto him, they could lose him for free in the summer.
To make matters worse, bitter rivals Rangers are hot on Celtic’s heels in the Scottish Premiership. Celtic cannot afford to lose the centre-back without adequate cover. The Bhoys need to hold onto Boyata until they sign a quality replacement.
Brendan Rodgers is expected to go back in for Scott McKenna in January (h/t The Scottish Sun). Regardless of how that turns out, the Scottish champions should hold onto Boyata and let him run out his contract – even if it means losing him for free next summer.