Why Celtic should move for Stephen O’Donnell to replace Frimpong
The Hoops are understood to be in the market for a new right-back following the sale of Jeremie Frimpong to Bayer Leverkusen and have identified O’Donnell as a potential target to replace the Dutch starlet.
O’Donnell’s contract at Fir Park is due to expire at the end of January. While Motherwell are in talks to extend his stay, the Scottish international is yet to put pen to paper on fresh terms. That has left the door wide open for Celtic to snap him up on a free transfer.
Stephen O’Donnell spent seven years in the youth system of Aberdeen and also honed his skills for a short period of time in Celtic’s academy. He eventually started his professional career with Partick Thistle in the second-tier in 2011-12 and helped the club secure promotion to the top-flight.
The right-back went on to register 10 goals and 17 assists in 138 appearances for Partick Thistle over four seasons. O’Donnell moved south of the border to join Luton Town in EFL League Two, where he made more than 50 appearances over two seasons.
He then returned to his homeland with Kilmarnock in 2017 and went on to reach great heights during a three-year spell at Rugby Park. O’Donnell managed 7 goals and 12 assists in 122 appearances for Killie before switching boats to join rivals Motherwell on a free transfer this past summer.
The 28-year-old has also established himself as a regular for Scotland national team at the senior level, accumulating 16 caps for his nation so far.
O’Donnell an ideal option for Celtic?
Celtic’s pursuit of a new right-back has been intensified by the departure of Frimpong. The youngster had been a regular starter for Neil Lennon’s side over the past 12 months. His sale has undoubtedly left the Hoops with a massive void to fill in the last few days of the January window.
Kristoffer Ajer has done a decent job at right-back in recent fixtures but it goes without saying that Celtic need a permanent solution in that department. Hatem Abd Elhamed is capable of operating in that position but the Israeli is apparently not in the manager’s plans.
Putting things into context, Stephen O’Donnell might not be the most exciting option for Celtic but a move for the Scottish star looks more than feasible before the end of the month. The 28-year-old boasts more than 170 appearances in the Scottish Premiership for the likes of Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and Motherwell.
With so much domestic experience under his belt, he certainly represents a quality replacement for Frimpong at Parkhead. O’Donnell has also done pretty well for Scotland at the international level, which more than justifies his quality at the highest level.
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Stephen O’Donnell ticks several boxes as a proven performer in Scotland and still has several years remaining in his prime at 28. With the right-back available on a free transfer at the end of January, Celtic should not hesitate to take a punt on the player.