Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Nawrocki and Carter Vickers will be out of the next two months. Which is disastrous to say the least. And it changes everything now about how we are going to spend the last seven days of this window, because this is not now something that we can afford to simply wait out until we see an improvement.
The timeframe on the recoveries of these guys is eight weeks; it is likely to be longer. So that’s a return towards the end of October if we’re lucky, and what are the odds? The words “lucky” and “Celtic” do not go together at the moment. The last thing we’ll be is lucky. The timeframe is going to be longer than that, perhaps mid-November.
That’s most of the Champions League Group Stages. We can’t possibly go into those games with the backline looking the way it does right now. Welsh is out for months. Now these two are out for months. That’s pretty much wiped our central defence out, and this without picking up any further injuries niggles or knocks. It’s calamitous.
I guess those transfer market solutions are going to be necessary after all. It’s no longer a case of “how many defenders do we need?” or “how many defenders do we want”? We have no choice now but to bring in one and perhaps even two old war horses, even if it’s on short term deals, which of course eats into the available transfer budget.
A matter of weeks, we can get by with. We can apply sticking plaster solutions to those, by playing Iwata as a centre back or moving Alastair Johnston inside if we’re out of all other options.
We cannot go to Ibrox, Easter Road, Motherwell, Livingston and Tynecastle and play half our Champions League games on top of that with two fit centre backs, one of whom is Liam Scales.
You can’t look at that and believe that it’s tenable, because it clearly isn’t.
I think we can all remember injury crises at our club before. But we’re looking at three out of our five centre backs on the sidelines for months and two of them were arguably first picks. That’s something I’ve never seen before, and never want to see again. That isn’t just a problem we have to work around, that’s a serious threat to the whole campaign.
Based on that we have no other option except t to do what I’m sure no person at Celtic Park actually wants to do, and that’s spend resources on this area of the team. But we’re out of wiggle room. We have no alternative. We can’t expect to work around this for eight to ten weeks or longer, our season could be in ruins long before these guys are back.
Short term loans obviously make more sense than signings, and now we’re going to have to push that button. We can promise these guys Champions League football without any caveats because we’ve got no-one else to play in these positions. That alone should make it easier to bring them in. The question is, are we going to have enough time?
This one can’t be blamed on the board although let’s be blunt; if we’d gotten the rest of our business done in a timely manner this would be much easier to do. This is the consequence of all the foot dragging. At the end of the day though, this is like getting struck by lightning and you can’t hold anyone responsible for that.
But they need to provide solutions, now more than ever these people have to up their game.