Former Celtic star, Charlie Nicholas, has given his opinion on how Neil Lennon should structure his transfer business as he looks to cement his place in history in the coming season.
Writing in his Daily Express column (via The Daily Record), Nicholas reveals who should be shown the Parkhead exit door to allow Lennon to get his number one targets.
So what has Nicholas said?
With every day seemingly bringing another Celtic transfer rumour, the Sky Sports pundit explained what he would do in the current market:
“I’d offload Olivier Ntcham as I just don’t see him staying because he isn’t getting enough game time.
“Scott Brown is a leader, Callum McGregor has become one, Ryan Christie is a big player and Neil Lennon will try to keep Odsonne Edouard but Fraser Forster needs to be tied down first.
“The Hoops hierarchy have to show the desire to bring the player in long term because that approach will play a big part in a deal like this.
“They spent close to £10million on Edouard because they were aware of his value and potential future worth.
“Forster is a proven talent, though, and it wouldn’t be a gamble to bring him in long term even if Celtic have to push out the boat to get him.
“Boli Bolingoli should be offloaded, too. He should have been out the door instead of Jonny Hayes.
“Hayes is a strange one – I would have given him another contract as the deal would have been straightforward and within the club’s financial reach.
“The Irishman can play a couple of positions and I find it weird that Lennon has allowed him to leave.
“Striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo is another one I would get rid of in a heartbeat but that is a hard ask to try and get value for him in the current market.
“I am surprised at some of the players who have been released.”
So is Nicholas correct?
He starts off making a valid point in that Olivier Ntcham is a saleable asset with suitable replacements already at the club in the shape of Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic, his departure would bring in a decent transfer fee – rumoured to be circa £12million – without weakening the team.
There is also room for negotiation with Southampton with both sides having a player that the other wants at a similar price tag – if only football was that straight forward though.
Jonny Hayes may have been a useful squad member but is approaching his mid-thirties, Boli Bolingoli showed flashes of what he was capable of and was unlucky to get injured just as he was finding his form, ironically the 3-5-2 shape that Lennon shifted to after the winter break would probably suit him more than Greg Taylor but the Scot is the man in possession of the starting jersey just now.
Vakoun Issouf Bayo can also count himself unlucky, when Odsonne Edouard was injured, and Leigh Griffiths wasn’t available the Ivorian also picked up a knock just as it looked as he might get a run in the team but with Patryk Klilmala signing in January his time at the club does appear to be up.
Nicholas may have had some stinkers last season but for once, he makes a couple of decent points, however, the Hoops gaffer is unlikely to take pointers from a man who got his knickers in a twist over how Celtic players were celebrating scoring goals.