The Central Defender Hunt Takes A Tiresome New Twist Tonight

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I avoided writing anything on the Jason Denayer deal until now because I didn’t think it was either likely or particularly desirable. Manchester City were a bitch to deal with over Roberts and there was no way they were going to agree to let a second player come here on loan.

It was a fool’s ploy to ask and, I think, a little bit desperate.

Surely Coetzee wasn’t all we had? Surely we didn’t put all of our eggs in a single basket? How unprofessional would that have been? How weak?

Now, tonight, the news that the move for Denayer is as dead as I expected it to be has left us still scrambling for a player in that position.

If our club does not have a solution here we’re all fully entitled to ask why.

Because it will be ridiculous.

Look, it’s clear enough that Brendan had earmarked the position early.

Why wasn’t a deal done early? Coetzee’s injury was someone no-one foresaw, but it’s the danger of leaving it until the last knockings to sign someone in the first place. It is the obvious risk you take when you take the decision to wait when there’s no need to.

And if you exacerbate that problem by not having a Plan B … it’s just bad form. It stinks.

God help us if something happens to Tierney and we’ve not signed a backup player. There’s simply no excuse for us putting so much on the shoulders of this young guy, without having any support for him except another kid who you’d not want to put in that position.

City’s refusal to sanction another loan for Denayer has done us a favour.

They haven’t kept us waiting for an answer, they’ve given it to us straight in short order and he’s now on his way to Turkey. No messing. We have a little over 24 hours to get our act together and start working our way down the list of possibiles, which we all assume exists.

I understand the idea of bringing in loans – I will write about them in another piece – but they don’t get the job done. Let me put it this way, we know Dembele is likely to go next summer.

We would like to keep him in an ideal situation but we think he’ll go. We could have signed, and be training up, his replacement in this campaign.

Instead we’re looking at a major scramble to replace him before the next one. It’s like a total absence of joined up thinking. Like with loans it’s all short term stuff.

There’s talk we might lose Sviatchenko and Simunovic … so we’ll be rebuilding the central defence anyway. Doesn’t it make sense to start that job right now?

Signing players is not going to get easier.

But I think all of us live with the assumption that people at Celtic Park know what they are doing. I have a feeling I understand some of Brendan’s early season choices pretty well, and a lot of what appear to be weaknesses in the squad – including the failure to sign a central defender thus far – can be understood as fitting into a new style Brendan is keen to adopt, but even must know it’s untenable for the Champions League.

So as tough as it is, those above him best get busy.

Because we cannot go into those games with this squad, with this backline, without a backup striker. And I would rather they were our own players rather than loans, which only puts off the day of reckoning when we do have to find replacements.

In the future we need to approach these things a Hell of a lot earlier than we do.

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