Celtic should sign Timothy Castagne to solve right-back woes
It hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for the reigning Scottish champions. A poor summer transfer window and injuries to key players throughout the course of the campaign have hindered their progress. Brendan Rodgers’ side sit first in the Scottish Premiership, however, thanks to their superior goal difference as they are level on points with arch-rivals Rangers.
The Hoops have managed to enter the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League and must look to progress further in the competition. They must also compete to retain their Scottish FA Cup trophy. Competing on multiple fronts with the current squad is going to be a problem for Rodgers and some new faces need to be brought through the doors in the ongoing transfer window.
A new striker and a centre-back should be at the top of the priority list for Celtic. But another position they need to strengthen is the right-back area. The Hoops’ first-choice defender in the position, Mikael Lustig, is in the final year of his contract with the club and has been linked with a move away.
Even if he does end up staying beyond the ongoing window or the summer, the 32-year-old Swede hasn’t been in the best form. His back-up Cristian Gamboa is also in the final year of his deal and has shown little signs of optimism. Meanwhile, academy graduate Anthony Ralston has somewhat faded after a bright breakthrough campaign.
That is why an upgrade in the position would do a world of good for the Scottish champions. And Castagne could prove to be the ideal solution in the long run for the Bhoys.
The 23-year-old right-back started his career with the youth academy of Belgian heavyweights Genk and made rapid strides through the youth setup. Eventually, he became a full-fledged member of the first-team by the time he was 18. Castagne went on to make 99 appearances for Genk, scoring four times and setting up five more goals before he was signed by Serie A outfit Atalanta in 2017.
Since moving to Italy, the Belgian has continued to enhance his burgeoning reputation. Castagne made 26 appearances in his debut campaign with the club, scoring once and setting up three more as Atalanta finished 7th in the Italian top-flight. He has featured 14 times in the 2018/19 term, scoring and assisting one goal apiece.
Reliable in defence and adventurous going forward, Castagne’s biggest asset is his ability to dribble the ball at pace. He backs it up with solid end product into the box – something which has been lacking in Lustig’s gameplay lately.
Moreover, the right-back has some degree of experience in the UEFA Europa League, having made it as far as the quarter-finals with Genk in 2016/17. He was also a part of Atalanta’s European campaign last term as well.
At 23, Castagne is bound to improve further. Given how he has performed so far with Genk and Atalanta, the two-time capped Belgian international would improve the Celtic squad greatly, provided they are able to sign him.