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Celtic would bag a massive coup by targeting any of these two defenders – including this talented 21-year-old Frenchman

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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

Rangers would pull one over Celtic by signing this 21-year-old international to address this key problem in the team

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Rangers Opinion: Gers should look to get one over Celtic by winning the race for Greg Taylor

According to Football Scotland, Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers are set to go head-to-head in a transfer tug of war over Kilmarnock’s Scottish international left-back Greg Taylor.

The Scottish Premiership giants are not the only suitors for the 21-year-old highly-rated prospect, with Football Scotland claiming that EFL Championship outfit Hull City are also keen to take the youngster across the border.

Taylor is currently on international duty with Scotland and recently made his senior debut in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Belgium in the Euro 2020 qualifiers in the absence of Kieran Tierney and Liverpool star Andy Robertson.

The 21-year-old’s stocks are currently on the rise following his debut for Scotland and Kilmarnock will be looking to use that to their advantage this summer, with the likes of Celtic, Rangers and Hull City circling around like sharks to swoop for the youngster.

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Greg Taylor made a total of 41 appearances in all competitions for Kilmarnock this past season and was one of the most influential figures over the course of the campaign, as Steve Clarke’s side finished 3rd in the Scottish Premiership, just behind the likes of Celtic and Rangers.

The 21-year-old’s scintillating run of form at Kilmarnock didn’t go unnoticed, and Steven Clarke, who took up the international job for Scotland following his departure from Rugby Park at the end of the recently-concluded season, handed the youngster his international debut.

Taylor also represented Scotland U-20 at the 2017 Toulon Tournament, where he earned rave reviews for his performances and was the only Scottish player to be named in the Team of the Tournament.

Taylor initially started his career in the youth ranks at Rangers but he was released after six years, with the Ibrox giants citing his diminutive frame as the reason behind his dismissal. He joined Kilmarnock in 2014 and quickly rose through the youth ranks before making his first-team debut back in 2016.

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Held in high regard at Kilmarnock due to his talent and potential, Taylor established himself as a regular in the first-team in the 2016-17 season. He never looked back since then and made the left-back position at Rugby Park his own, establishing himself as one of the best players to watch out for outside the big two in the division.

Taylor has already racked up a total of 126 appearances for Kilmarnock in all competitions till date, registering a goal and 10 assists, and the achievement of such a feat at the tender age of 21 is indicative of his talent, potential, rapid growth and development as a footballer.

The Scottish prodigy has already made his cut into the senior international side and he definitely deserves a move to either of the top two clubs in the division to move forward in his career.

To put things into perspective, Greg Taylor would potentially be an excellent signing for both Celtic and Rangers. While the Hoops should look at him as a long-term successor to the ageing left-back Emilio Izaguirre and a back-up for Tierney, the 21-year-old would be an excellent signing for Steven Gerrard as well.

However, Rangers should look to get one over their Old Firm rivals by beating the Hoops in the race to sign the emerging starlet, although the prospect of earning a move to England might appeal to the player.

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According to a recent from The Scottish Sun, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is in the market for a new left-back and the Gers have identified Swedish veteran Martin Olsen as a potential target for the summer.

However, one cannot help but feel that someone like Taylor, who already has a wealth of Scottish Premiership experience at 21,  would be a better long-term investment for the Gers.

The departure of long-standing left-back Lee Wallace to QPR has rendered Gerrard short of options at left-back, with Croatian international failing to nail down a regular starting role since his move to Ibrox last summer.

Former Liverpool star Jon Flanagan filled in at left-back this past season but he is more of a right-back and Rangers should look to deploy his in his preferred role in order to get the best out of him.

Midfielder Andy Halliday also operated as a make-shift left-back the last term, and while he didn’t do a bad job, Rangers need to find a permanent solution to their left-back conundrum.

Greg Taylor, 21, still has a lot of time to mature and evolve into one of the best in Scotland and he would certainly be a massive coup for Rangers.

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The Gers have already signed the likes of Jordan Jones, Steven Davis, Jake Hastie and Greg Stewart and Taylor would be another fantastic addition to their ranks, as Gerrard looks to put an end to Celtic’s dominance.

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Celtic

Forget Burke and Weah – Celtic’s frontline would flourish greatly if they sign this 25-year-old target from last summer

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Celtic Opinion: Patrick Twumasi would be the ideal replacement for loanees Oliver Burke and Weah at Parkhead

According to The Scottish Sun, Celtic have been credited with an interest in Ghanaian international attacker Patrick Twumasi in the summer transfer window, with manager Neil Lennon reportedly looking to bolster his attacking ranks.

This is not the first time that the 25-year-old has been linked with a move to Parkhead, with The Scottish Sun claiming that Twumasi was on Celtic’s radar last summer prior to his move to La Liga side Deportivo Alaves.

Alaves enjoyed an impressive campaign in the La Liga this past season but Twumasi’s time proved to be an ill-fated one, as the 25-year-old failed to start a single game in the league and was restricted to just 11 substitute appearances.

Quite clearly, things haven’t worked out for him at Alaves and The Scottish Sun understands that the La Liga outfit are prepared to cut their losses on the Ghanaian this summer by getting him off their books. And, Twumasi’s imminent availability has seemingly put Celtic on red alert once again, with the Hoops currently looking for new options in the market to add depth to all areas of their squad.

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Twumasi, however, is hardly an unknown entity to the Celtic fans, given his feat of scoring a double against the Hoops in the Champions League playoffs back in 2017.

The Ghanaian, then with Kazakhstan Premier League side FC Astana, netted twice in his club’s 4-3 victory over Celtic in the second leg, as Brendan Rodgers’ side were made to sweat, despite carrying a 5-0 advantage from the first leg.

Twumasi snubbed a move to Celtic last summer, but with Alaves ready to cash in on him this time around, a move to Parkhead looks likely to materialize for the Ghanaian ace. The 25-year-old made a name for himself at Spartaks Jurmala in the Latvian top-flight and spent time on loan at Amkar Perm in Russia before making his move to Kazakh heavyweights FC Astana in 2015.

The Ghanaian reached great heights during his spell at Astana and went on to register a staggering 63 goals and 29 assists in 158 appearances for the Kazakh giants over the course of three full seasons.

Twumasi bagged 5 goals and 2 assists in 8 appearances to propel Astana to the Round-of-32 of the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League and his heroics at the continental stage caught the eye of La Liga outfit Alaves, who swooped for him last summer.

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To put things into perspective, Patrick Twumasi might not be a world-beater but he certainly fits the bill at Parkhead. Celtic have no reason to be put off by his struggles in the La Liga, and his prolific record at his previous club FC Astana should prompt the Hoops to make a move for him.

The 25-year-old has scored against them, so they would probably know what a dangerous player he can be with his pace and skills.

Essentially a right-winger by trade, Twumasi is capable of operating on either flank, through the centre as a supporting striker and also up front as the leader of the attack.

A robust wide player noted for his good close control and body balance, the 25-year-old’s key attributes are his lightning pace, incredible acceleration, quick feet and silky dribbling skills, whilst his clinical finishing also adds to his value as a versatile and explosive attacker.

While reinforcements at centre-back and right-back continue to be high on Lennon’s recruitment list for the summer, Celtic also need to look at a few versatile attacking options in the market in a bid to replace the likes of Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah.

The departure of both the loanees has left the club short of options in the final third, with January recruit Vakoun Issouf Bayo also struggling to make a name for himself due to injuries.

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Odsonne Edouard remains a key part of Celtic’s plans moving forward but Lennon needs to increase competition for places up top, with Leigh Griffiths hardly playing a significant role last term.

Twumasi’s versatility to play in multiple areas across the attacking third should make him a valuable asset to Celtic and the manager might as well look at him as a back-up for the likes of regular wide players James Forrest and Scott Sinclair.

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The Hoops will be expected to make it nine-in-a-row in the Scottish Premiership over arch-rivals Rangers and they need to ensure that they have all their bases covered heading into the upcoming campaign.

Keeping that in mind, the acquisition of Patrick Twumasi should be a perfect start to the summer for the club, as they look to complete yet another treble next term.

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Arsenal

Arsenal signing this 22-year-old who emerged from Celtic’s youth ranks for £26m would be a massive coup for Emery

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Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should make a move for Kieran Tierney

According to a report from The Metro, Arsenal are one of the clubs interested in Celtic star Kieran Tierney.

The defender, 22, has graduated from Celtic’s youth ranks to establish himself as a star player in the team that has secured three consecutive domestic trebles. However, he was restricted to just 19 league appearances last season due to a number of injuries that kept him out for over two months from December to February. He also had a double hernia operation at the end of May.

But that has not stopped Kieran Tierney from attracting interest from a few European clubs, which includes the likes of Lyon, Manchester United and Barcelona. Keeping that in mind, Arsenal must do everything possible to sign the Scotsman from Celtic this summer.

Arsenal are yet to make any signings this summer so far. Unai Emery is keen to make new additions to his squad after his team missed out on Champions League football. The Spanish tactician’s aim will be to build a squad capable of challenging for silverware next season.

The Gunners manager’s priority has to be solving his defensive woes ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. Arsenal conceded over 50 goals in the Premier League which clearly tells it’s an area that needs thorough reinforcing.

They must lookout for left-back reinforcements, with Nacho Monreal entering the twilight years of his career and Sead Kolasinac being tipped for a surprise move to La Liga champions Barcelona.

Kieran Tierney would be a fantastic fit at the Emirates Stadium. He has long been viewed as one of the finest talents to emerge from Scotland over the course of the last decade. The 22-year-old broke into the Celtic side aged 17 and has already accumulated 170 first-team appearances and won 11 major trophies, including five league titles.

As such, Tierney’s fine form and room for growth have certainly seen the Scotland international linked with a move away from Celtic Park.

He is a solid, reliable defender, who is a left-back by trade but equally comfortable playing on the right, central defence and as a wing-back. A good crosser of the ball, the 22-year-old loves to play on the front foot and make overlapping runs.

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The Celtic star is a perfect modern-day full-back but with more defensive acumen than Sead Kolasinac, something that could tempt Emery to bring him at the Emirates. Tierney’s combination of attacking prowess and defensive intelligence means that he can slot straight into Emery’s team.

Verdict

From Arsenal’s point of view, it makes complete sense for them to be interested in Tierney. They could solve one of their biggest problems by bringing in a solid natural left-back in the Scotsman.

And for around £26m, the 22-year-old would represent a massive coup for Emery’s Arsenal.

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