With next week’s Champions League opener against FK Sarajevo looming, Celtic have been busy in the transfer market this summer as Neil Lennon tries to move the team from Brendan Rodgers’ image into his own.
So Far Celtic have added Luca Connell, Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo and Cristopher Jullien.
Jullien was signed for a reported £7m by BBC Sport, which was Celtic’s second highest transfer fee paid of all time.
How do these players fit in?
So far the signings look to replace outgoing players in a like-for-like way. The Metro continues to link Kieran Tierney with a move to Arsenal so Bolingoli-Mbombo offers another pacey attacking threat at left-back.
Dedryck Boyata joined Hertha Berlin in the summer so Jullien steps in at centre back. Boyata often looked shaky in possession so if Jullien can show more composure he could be an improvement at the heart of the defence.
Neil Lennon compared Jullien to Bobo Balde in an interview with the Evening Times.
Luca Connell has 674 league minutes so far in his career so doesn’t look like featuring straight away.
A change in strategy?
Lennon made comments to the Belfast Telegraph last season about wanting the side to play more direct. Brendan Rodgers advocated a possession-first approach so Lennon will need to make drastic changes to the squad or see if they can adapt to a different style of play.
James Forrest and Ryan Christie are at their best running at defenders and using their pace to stretch the opposition defence. This could be nullified if the opposition know Celtic will play too direct as they can just sit deep and soak up the pressure.
Lennon’s biggest challenge will be to get success in Europe, this squad is certainly built to counter attack at pace and exploit teams who push too many men forward.
Weaknesses and possible further signings
Mikael Lustig left to join Gent in the summer and it leave Celtic woefully short at right-back. The only senior option is Anthony Ralston who played 4 league games last season.
The Sun credits Celtic with an interest in Luton’s Jack Stacey and a new right-back is a must going into the season.
Scott Bain fell out of favour at Dundee and Craig Gordon looks exceptionally weak with his distribution, so Celtic could really do with an established goalkeeper to come in.
Sky Sports reported Southampton are willing to listen to offers for Fraser Forster – remember it was Neil Lennon who signed him to Celtic originally back in 2012.
A signing of Forster’s calibre would make Celtic’s defence look much more formidable going into the new season.