Celtic should beat Rangers to sign Vassilis Lambropoulos
As per a report from Greek outlet SDNA, Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers are interested in making a swoop for AEK Athens defender Vassilis Lambropoulos in the January transfer window.
The 28-year-old Greek international is in the final year of his contract with the club and is likely to be sold on the cheap in the winter window. And the Gers are hoping to capitalize on the situation by launching a bid to sign the centre-back.
Steven Gerrard’s side have a number of options at the heart of the defence, having signed Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic in the summer, before bringing in Joe Worrall on loan from Nottingham Forest. The Light Blues also recruited seasoned defender Gareth McAuley on a free transfer, following the expiry of his contract at West Bromwich Albion. And hence, the need for another addition at the heart of the defence does seem redundant at Ibrox at the moment.
However, if there is one club that would benefit from signing a new centre-back in the January transfer window, it is Rangers’ arch-rivals and reigning Scottish champions Celtic.
The Hoops yielded their top spot in the league table this past weekend to their bitter rivals, following a 0-2 defeat away to Hibernian FC. It has been far from a solid season for Brendan Rodgers’ side with injuries and a rather poor summer transfer window hampering the consecutive treble-winning outfit.
The central defence has been a bit of a bothersome area for the Bhoys. Mainstay Dedryck Boyata tried hard to force a move away from Celtic Park in the summer transfer window and given that he will be entering the final six months of his deal in January, the Hoops might have to cash in on him, instead of losing him on a free at the end of the campaign.
Jozo Simunovic has started recent matches, but his injury record doesn’t inspire confidence at all, while Jack Hendry has been anything but impressive since joining the club last January. Marvin Commper has spent more time out on the treatment tables than on the field for the Hoops, while Filip Benkovic, who has impressed this term, will be returning to parent club Leicester City once his loan deal expires at the end of the term.
Given the predicament that the Hoops find themselves in, they would certainly stand to benefit from rivalling Rangers in pursuit of Lambropoulos and beating their rivals for his signing.
The 28-year-old has been with AEK Athens for more than four years now and has amassed 135 appearances, scoring 5 times and setting up one more. During his time with the club, the two-time capped Greek international has won a league title and a domestic cup.
Lambropoulos has some degree of experience in European football, having represented Athens on ten occasions in continental competitions and will be able to provide cover at right-back and in the defensive midfield areas as well, having played in those positions previously in his career.
Read More: No Boyata, no problem: Celtic would pull off a masterstroke by re-igniting interest in this Eredivisie powerhouse
Experienced, reliable and versatile, the 28-year-old Lambropoulos has the capability to be a hit at the Parkhead and what makes him an even more attractive proposition is the fact that he will be available on a bargain owing to his contract situation. Certainly an opportunity Celtic shouldn’t let go of.
Celtic would strike gold by signing this 22-year-old Portuguese right-back to boost defensive depth
Celtic FC Opinion: Why Fernando Fonseca will be a good fit for the Hoops?
According to January’s report from the Scottish Sun, Celtic were interested in signing FC Porto right-back Fernando Fonseca.
The 22-year-old defender, who had a loan spell at Estoril last season, has made just three appearances for the Porto B side this term. As per O Jogo, Fernando Fonseca was close to joining Ukrainian outfit Zorya Luhansk but the move has collapsed, owing to a disagreement in negotiations.
As a result, the Portuguese right-back is set to stay put at Porto but could depart the club in the summer, with a move to Zorya Luhansk now apparently off.
That surely gives Celtic a second chance to swoop in for Fonseca and the Glasgow giants should do everything in their powers to sign him ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
The Hoops signed Jeremy Toljan on loan from Borussia Dortmund in January to compete with the ageing Mikael Lustig. Toljan had a fantastic start to his life at Parkhead but since the red card at Valencia in the Europa League, things have gone horribly wrong for the right-back.
Despite committing errors at the back, interim manager Neil Lennon has at least given Toljan a chance.
But the German has not really shown enough in recent weeks to cement his place in the starting XI Scottish champions. In fact, he looks a complete a misfit and shouldn’t be signed by Celtic permanently to replace Mikael Lustig.
Lustig is out of contract at the end of the season and will leave the Bhoys on a free. Celtic need to replace the Swede this summer, with the right-back position desperately requiring strengthening.
Toljan’s constant struggles mean the Scottish giants should move on from the on-loan star and make a concrete offer to Porto for signing Fernando Fonseca.
Fonseca fits the bill perfectly at Celtic—young, promising, dynamic and with a huge potential to develop as a player. He was close to joining Juventus last summer tells one the quality and potential he possesses. The 22-year-old hasn’t got a look in Porto’s first-team this season and will surely move on to kickstart his career elsewhere.
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A move to Celtic could give the young Portuguese a chance to get first-team football on a regular basis. The Hoops in return would get a long-term replacement for Lustig at right-back.
It’s important for Celtic to address the right-back position this summer as Lustig’s career at Parkhead will come to an end. Signing Fonseca, therefore, is a no-brainer for the Glasgow heavyweights.
Celtic would bag a massive coup by targeting any of these two defenders – including this talented 21-year-old Frenchman
Celtic FC Opinion: Two defenders the Hoops should target this summer?
Celtic are inching closer towards their eight successive Scottish Premiership title despite Brendan Rodgers leaving the fans stunned by joining Leicester City last month.
Neil Lennon has taken the reins of the club on an interim basis until the end of the campaign. The Hoops are enjoying a ten-point lead at the top of the table and if Lennon successfully manages to guide the club to the inevitable, he could certainly get the permanent keys of the club, once again.
Should Lennon get the job, he must look to build the team for the future and address some key areas of the squad in the summer transfer window. One of the important areas is the defence, which has failed to inspire this season.
Dedryck Boyata, arguably Celtic’s best defender, will certainly leave the club once his contract expires in the summer, while Filip Benkovic will return back to Leicester City at the end of the campaign.
That’ll leave the Hoops with Jozo Simunovic, Jack Hendry and Kristoffer Ajer—none of have been consistent and reliable at the back.
Hence, it’s crucial Celtic makes defensive reinforcements to compete for the title as well as make a mark in the Champions League. That said, here we look at the two central defenders the Glasgow giants should target in the summer.
1. Samir Memisevic (Groningen)
Samir Memisevic is enjoying an excellent season with Groningen, having been a regular fixture at the Dutch club’s backline. He has made 25 appearances in the Eredivisie, scoring three goals.
Strong in the air and powerful in the tackle, the Bosnian is a no-nonsense defender who’ll bring some much-needed feistiness and leadership qualities to the Celtic backline.
Memisevic likes to play it out from the back and is extremely comfortable on the ball, making him a perfect fit for Lennon’s Hoops.
2. Jean-Kevin Duverne (Lens)
Jean-Kevin Duverne earned rave reviews for his performances with Ligue 2 side RC Lens last season. But he ruptured ligament in his left knee in May last year and was out of action for close to nine months.
The Frenchman, 21, made his return on February and has played seven Ligue 2 games thus far. Duverne will take some time before he gets to his best and starts attracting attention from Europe’s elites.
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But before that happens, Celtic should quickly snap him up this summer. He fits the profile at the Parkhead; young, matured and talented with a sky-high potential.
Celtic would go a long way in solving their defensive conundrum by reviving interest in this powerful 22-year-old wall
Celtic Opinion: Hoops should reignite their interest in Scott McKenna
Back in January, a report from Belfast Live claimed that Celtic were set to reignite their interest in Aberdeen centre-back Scott Mckenna. However, a move to Parkhead failed to materialize for him and the youngster continued to impress at his current club.
McKenna has been a regular for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership this season, making 22 appearances and helping his team achieve a wonderful defensive record. Aberdeen has conceded only 34 goals from 30 games, a feat that has only been bettered by four other sides in the division.
A youth product of Aberdeen, McKenna made his senior professional debut for his boyhood club in 2016 and spent time on loan at Ayr United and Alloa Athletic.
He gradually earned a significant role at his present club after his impressive performances on his loan spells and the 22-year-old has gone on to establish himself as a rock at the back for Aberdeen.
The Scottish international has made a total of 68 appearances for Aberdeen across all competitions, scoring on four occasions.
Standing at 6ft. 3 inches with a towering amd well-built frame, Scott Mckenna is a physically dominating centre-half with good aerial ability.
Capable of outmuscling his offensive counterparts with his strength, McKenna is also very quick across the ground which helps him deal with fast and agile attackers as well.
The Scotsman possesses good game-reading ability- often staying on his feet to anticipate the opposition’s moves and cutting out attacks with interceptions, whilst also showing the commitment to throw his body on the line to block goal-bound shots.
Mckenna has also improved his passing significantly and has developed into a ball-playing centre-back, which should interest Celtic all the more.
To put things into perspective, Celtic might do themselves a world of good by reigniting their interest in the towering Aberdeen defensive wall. The fact that he is a home-grown talent should make the move all the more exciting for the Celtic fans.
The Hoops are well on their way to getting their hands on the Scottish Premiership title once again, with Neil Lennon’s side 8 points clear of Rangers at the top.
Former manager Brendan Rodgers signed the likes of
Dedryck Boyata is out of contract while Filip Benkovic is set to return Leicester City in the summer, which would leave a massive void at the heart of Celtic’s defence. Quite clearly, Lennon will need into the transfer window for a new centre-back and McKenna definitely fits the bill.
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The Scotsman is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the country and there is no reason why he cannot develop into a top-class player at Parkhead.
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