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Celtic failed with an offer for 26-year-old Kosovo star in 2019 – Should Lennon go back for this man?

Why Celtic should reignite interest in Amir Rrahmani

According to the Daily Record, Celtic made a second attempt to sign Kosovan international centre-back Amir Rrahmani during the summer. However, the Hoops were rebuffed by the defender, who opted to stay at Napoli and fight for a place in Gennaro Gattuso’s side. 

Celtic had failed to with an offer for Rrahmani back in the summer of 2019 before he moved from Dinamo Zagreb to Hellas Verona in the Serie A. The 26-year-old earned a move to Napoli in January 2020 after impressing in his debut season in Italy but spent the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Verona. 

Rrahmani returned to Napoli this past summer but is yet to make a single competitive appearance for the Partenopei, with Kalidou Koulibaly, Kostas Manolas and Nikola Maksimovic all ahead of him in the pecking order. 

Why Celtic reigniting interest in Amir Rrahmani would make perfect sense
Amir Rrahmani had been linked with a move to Celtic in the summer (Getty Images)

Profile

Amir Rrahmani featured for Drenica in Kosovo and Partizani Tirana in Albania before joining Croatian outfit Hajduk Split in the summer of 2015. He spent time on loan at Lokomotiva Zagreb in the following campaign and was snapped up by Dinamo Zagreb in 2017. The centre-back made 57 appearances for Dinamo across two seasons and also caught the eye in the Europa League before earning a move to Italy with Hellas Verona in 2019.

The Kosovan international went on to enjoy a productive debut season in Italy last term, starting 36 Serie A fixtures as Hellas Verona secured an impressive 9th-place finish. Rrahmani spent the second half of last season on loan at Verona, having joined Napoli on a permanent basis in January. 

Rrahmani would add more quality to Celtic’s backline

Celtic’s defensive frailties were badly exposed as the Hoops went into the final international break of 2020 on the back of a dismal streak that saw them win just two of their last seven games in all competitions. The injury to Christopher Jullien has come back to bite them hard, with Hatem Abd Elhamed, Kristoffer Ajer, Shane Duffy and Nir Bitton all struggling for consistency. 

Kosovan Football 🇽🇰 | 😷 on Twitter: "Arsenal was interested on signing Hellas #Verona and #Kosovo defender Amir #Rrahmani prior to Amir's with Napoli. A pre agreement between Verona and Napoli, prevented
Rrahmani made 36 appearances for Hellas Verona in the Serie A last season (Getty Images)

With Duffy set to return to Brighton following the expiry of his loan deal next summer, Celtic need to line up some defensive alternatives as a part of their long-term plans. And making a renewed attempt to sign Amir Rrahmani would definitely make a lot of sense in footballing terms. 

It’s unclear whether Rrahmani has a future at Napoli, given such stiff competition for places in Naples. However, the Kosovan international was quite excellent for Hellas Verona last season, which means that he’s more than capable of thriving in Europe’s elite leagues. 

Celtic have had their fair share of defensive issues over the past 12 months and a potential deal for Rrahmani would add some much-needed quality to what has been an inconsistent backline at Parkhead this season. Besides his obvious quality as a central defender, Rrahmani’s towering 6ft 4in frame should also make it easier for him to adjust to the rough-and-tough nature of the Scottish game.

Napoli defender Amir Rrahmani claims he rejected Celtic transfer - Flipboard
Source: Getty Images

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Verdict

It might sound harsh but Celtic’s defensive recruitment during Neil Lennon’s second managerial stint just hasn’t been up to the mark.

While they have managed to hold things together against inferior opposition on the domestic front, the lack of quality at the back has often made the Hoops a laughing stock in Europe. Celtic’s most recent 4-1 debacle against Sparta Prague in the Europa League lies testament to those claims. 

Suffice to say, Celtic need a leader at the back to shore up their leaky defence and reigniting interest in Amir Rrahmani would definitely be a sensible decision.

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