Last night we found out that Hatem Abd Elhamed will definitely be leaving to return to Israel. This doesn’t come as even a slight surprise. We heard this early in the January window, and he seemed set to return home during that time.
Then his agent denied the reports, and just as quickly as that the stories went away.
Suddenly, this issue is current once again.
He’s off back to his native land in an £800,000 deal. We’ve gone from a place where we had three right backs this time last year – including Bauer on loan – to having Kenny, also on loan. The position has been a problematic one since the departure of Lustig. Now a problem we thought we had solved for the foreseeable future haunts us all over again.
So the rebuild just got bigger. Our problems just became a little more pressing, a little harder to solve. We now need a first choice in that position and a backup.
Surely the new manager is not going to continue this bizarre and dangerous practice of playing midfielders converted to centre backs at right back?
This is a farce that’s gone on at Celtic Park too long.
When Brendan Rodgers first decided to play Ajer and Bitton at central defence it was a tactical decision stolen from Barcelona; it was never supposed to evolve into a permanent fixture, and a stop gap for having the proper players in the proper positions.
Abd Elhamed is clearly a very decent footballer.
When he was fit I considered him the best player we had at the right back position. But he’s been out of the team more than he’s been in it, with one thing or another, and was never really what you’d consider as reliable.
Still, he would have made a good backup to a first choice pick. Now we have two positions to fill instead of one, and the job in the summer just got a little tougher to do.
I would feel a lot better about that rebuild if we weren’t currently wasting the time we need to get it done, but it’s 7 February now and that’s exactly what we are doing.