The Daily Record has seized upon the inactivity of the Scottish Premiership to identify which Celtic players could have kicked their last ball in the famous green and white hoops with no date in sight as to when the 2019/20 season could be completed.
With the majority of contracts signed up until the 30th of June with the transfer window opening on the 1st of July, if the current season is unable to be completed by the end of June many clubs will be in limbo with regards to which players are still eligible for selection despite it being the same “season”.
Celtic are no different with seven stars potentially heading for the Parkhead exit door with some gaps being more sizeable than others to fill.
The most obvious name is Fraser Forster, both parties are keen to make the move permanent but the main sticking points will be whether or not Southampton see a future for him at St Mary’s, the potential asking price and any other interested clubs.
Mohamed Elyounoussi is the other loan player to have made an impact and saw an impressive run of form prior to getting injured in November but, since his recovery, he has yet to score or assist.
Neil Lennon’s change in formation has done little to help his cause with two strikers and a number 10 being preferred to two wingers. Once a favourite to be signed for a rumoured £8-10million, few fans would support this outlay now given his recent contribution.
Moritz Bauer has been a solid enough signing from Stoke City but the accelerated progress of Jeremie Frimpong, Hatem Abd Elhamed’s flexibility and James Forrest’s ability to play as a wing-back mean that it is unlikely that there will be any clamour for him to stay beyond his current deal.
Jonny Hayes has yet to sign an extension to his current deal but his flexibility and Lennon’s now preferred 3-5-2 could yet signal a reprieve for the player capable of operating anywhere down the left-hand side, his versatility proving useful in a congested fixture list and as an option off the bench.
Craig Gordon, even if Celtic don’t sign Fraser Forster permanently, is on his way out with a craving for first team football that Lennon simply can’t give him anymore, a return to former club Hearts is the most likely outcome.
Daniel Arzani is a case of what might’ve been, one of world football’s brightest hopes just a couple of years ago has seen his two year loan spell ruined by injury to the extent that he has made just two appearances and will no doubt be sent out again by Manchester City next season as he looks to get his career back on track.
Calvin Miller has a few senior appearances to his name but won’t add to these with too many quality players now in front of him in the battle for a place in the first XI, expect a drop down to the Championship having experienced the league on a couple of loan spells.
Other than Forster, the departure of any these players wouldn’t weaken the match-day squad and even then Scott Bain has proven to be a reliable pair of hands should the Hoops hierarchy be unable to secure a deal for the big man – proof that the management are doing a good job in maintaining the key components of such a dominant team.