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Celtic join Rangers in the race for 26-year-old star – Is this a battle they should win?

Haris Belkebla has been reliable for Brest throughout the campaign (Getty Images)
Haris Belkebla has been reliable for Brest throughout the campaign (Getty Images)

Why Haris Belkebla will be a good addition to the Celtic squad

According to The Scottish Sun, Celtic have joined rivals Rangers in the race for the signature of Stade Brest midfielder Haris Belkebla.

The 26-year-old midfielder has had an impressive season with newly-promoted side Brest, helping them to 14th in the Ligue 1 table. He featured 23 times for them in the league this season and is one of the side’s first few names on the teamsheet. A versatile midfielder, Belkebla is also equally comfortable playing in a more defensive role.

Haris Belkebla has been reliable for Brest throughout the campaign (Getty Images)
Haris Belkebla has been reliable for Brest throughout the campaign. (Getty Images)

A Valenciennes academy product, Belkebla had spent four seasons with lower division side Tours before switching to Brest in the summer of 2018. The Algerian, however, became an instant hit in France after helping Brest claim promotion into the top-flight last season.

To date, he has played 59 matches for the side and has quickly established himself as one of the regulars within the side. Having made 169 Ligue 2 and 23 Ligue 1 appearances, Belkebla is not short of talent and experience. Thus, Celtic should make a move for the midfielder.

Belkebla a proven defensive midfielder at Brest

Neil Lennon’s Celtic, meanwhile, enjoyed a successful league campaign this year as they emerged winners for the ninth consecutive time in Scotland. Though the side looks well-drilled in all departments a few improvements must be made, especially in the defensive midfield position.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon celebrates after his side's victory.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon celebrates after his side’s victory. (Getty Images)

Celtic currently have Olivier Ntcham and veteran skipper Scott Brown, who play in the deeper midfield roles. Brown, at 35, is entering the final phase of his career. The Hoops have experienced Nir Bitton in the defensive midfield role but he has mostly been deployed as a centre-back in recent times.

Apart from Bitton, they just have youngsters Ismaila Soro and Luca Connell as a back-up. 22-year-old Soro just arrived in the winter transfer window and is yet to make his senior appearance while Connell is only 19 and hasn’t featured for the first-team either.

Thus, the side are in clear need of an established defensive midfielder and who better than Belkebla, who has already proved his potential with Brest.

Celtic defensive midfielder Nir Bitton has mostly played as a centre-back for the side in recent times.
Celtic defensive midfielder Nir Bitton has mostly played as a centre-back for the side in recent times. (Getty Images)

Lennon and Celtic are aiming for a tenth successive title to continue their dominance in the Scottish top-flight and they could do with an experienced midfielder like Belkebla. Hence, they should up their interest in the Algerian midfielder and land him at Parkhead as soon as possible.

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Verdict

Celtic have enough midfielders, but Brown is entering the twilight of his career, while Ntcham is more attack-minded. So, adding another experienced holding midfielder like Belkebla would be a good move.

Also, his versatility in the pitch will be of great benefit to a top side like Celtic in the coming days. His arrival will only bolster their squad and give manager Lennon plenty of options in the midfield ahead of next season.

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