As the transfer window is closed for the moment, and there are no stories to write which have any real value just now, I have the choice of kicking my heels until then or finding some other thing to write for the site. James suggested a piece on the loanees.
He’s not a fan of players on loan.
I tend to think that you can’t do a major rebuilding without at least a couple of them.
They can save you from trying to do everything at once.
Of course, the other side of that coin is that some people see them as a means of doing things cheaply, and that becomes a habit, and it’s one we’ve had for way too long now.
Everything at Celtic is stop-gap. Everything is temporary.
As James pointed out in a previous article, this massive summer task is not an accident; the board actually knew this was coming. This chaos is intentional. They thought Lennon and Hammond would be running it.
They bet everything on their managerial pick. What a disastrous decision that was.
The short-termism of this board can be seen in the four loanees we have and the positions where they play, and the picture it paints is quite diabolical.
At left back we have the on-loan Laxalt.
With the fortune we brought in for Kieran Tierney our first choice left back is a loanee.
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At left midfield/left wing we have Elyounoussi, for the second season running. We have gone through numerous players in that position and none has proved as good as the one we let go to save wages; Scott Sinclair.
That position is a disaster area and it has been for three full seasons, and perhaps longer.
We have an on-loan right back, another positon we’ve gone through options on.
We had two reasonable players in that role and both left in the January window, one for a £10 million fortune none of which went back into the team, except to pay a loan fee for Kenny.
We’ve never replaced Lustig, because every time we’ve tried to we’ve tried to do it cheap. It’s another position where we’ve gone for cheap options, projects and yes, loans, such as that for Jeremy Toljan.
The reckoning there has been put off too long.
So too has it been deferred and delayed at central defence.
We’ve had Benkovic on loan, and that didn’t deliver for us.
Duffy on loan is an epochal disaster.
Jullien is a long term casualty.
We have brought Welsh into the team, and that’s the only good news. Ajer is offski. Our other option in that position is a central midfielder who looks like one when the heat is on.
So yes, although there’s a point to what James says about short-term thinking getting us into this mess, it’s readily apparent that we do need to fill some of our positions with loanees or we’re going to have to mortgage the stadium.
The question is; who would the fans keep?
One out of the four is a nonstarter; it’s goodbye Mr Duffy.
The thing is, Laxalt hasn’t impressed me much at times. He’s inconsistent. Elyounoussi hasn’t at times. He’s inconsistent as well. Kenny has impressed a little but over a full campaign? Who knows?
The defence has been abysmal and it hasn’t mattered whether Duffy was in the team or not.
Can we blame him for the disaster of the weekend just past?
No, he didn’t play and because the problem was the positioning as much as the personnel and that’s a coaching issue.
So too is the backwards slide of every player in the squad.
Is Duffy an inferior footballer than any of his Ibrox counterparts?
Well, he’s successfully played at a higher level than any of them ever has … I wonder how much of Duffy’s failure is down to the more general failure of bad tactics, bad structuring and bad management overall?
He is not the only player who has tanked this season.
None of the new signings, but Turnbull, has really panned out … is there a reason for that beyond none of them being very good?
It doesn’t matter; consider Duffy gone at the end of the season.
The fans would be uproarious if he was given another campaign.
It wouldn’t matter if the new manager was in on it, as fair or unfair as it might be, it just wouldn’t fly.
I think two years on loan makes Elyounoussi’s return for a third loan campaign highly unlikely.
His club wants to get him off the wage bill permanently and cut its losses on him. We have the chance to buy him. Will we take up that option? For £5 million? Has he showed the consistency to justify that deal? I very much doubt it. But again, we’ve not been well coached and the tactics are a shambles so maybe under a new boss he can show us a thing or two.
I just don’t think we’ll pay that much for him. He’s probably going as well.
The full backs might be our best bet, and a realistic option.
Laxalt is clearly a footballer, but he has suffered from the incoherence of our tactics and inconsistent team selections.
If he’s first choice, then we have an able backup in Taylor.
Kenny would be an easy sell for most fans.
He’s looked solid. He could be a first choice, with Ralston as his deputy.
Two reasonable options and backups … that would negate signing anyone on permanent deals for those two positions. It would give us a chance to focus on other positions and other options.
The club could do worse than to give this some thought. It’s the new manager’s call … but I rather suspect he too will see the value in a couple of stop-gap options like these.
The Rumour Guy is a Celtic fan and blogger from Glasgow.