One Of Celtic’s On Loan Players Has A Great Chance Of Coming Home And Staying.

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Sometimes in football, the loan maketh the man.

How many times have we seen this at our club? There is a notable example in the team right now, a player who didn’t look like he had a big future at Parkhead, who was loaned out to England where he shone and who was brought back to our club as a contender.

Now he’s the captain. But for that spell south of the border, would Callum McGregor have been overlooked?

Ryan Christie was loaned out after being signed as Scottish football’s outstanding youth prospect, this after he struggled to break into the first team. A move to Aberdeen saw the player emerge. He came back to Celtic, bided his time and injuries presented him with his chance. He was rarely out of the team from that moment on, and justified his inclusion.

Kris Ajer was the same. I couldn’t see where he had a future at the club although he was highly rated. He came home, blossomed and we sold him on for a fortune. He was at Kilmarnock. Rodgers made the decision to convert him into a central defender; a mad idea which I didn’t see ending well, not knowing the thinking behind it until much later. It was smart stuff.

There are others. We all get the drift. A loan can be the best thing that happens to a player and enough of them have come back to Celtic after going out that we can say it works and that it’s worth keeping an open mind, for the most part, on what a returning player might offer.

There are a few out right now who I don’t see returning to stake a claim.

Haksabanovic has done not one thing of note which suggests he still has something to offer us. He’s way too slow for a Rodgers team and he and Palma is two too many on the left side.

Mikey Johnston is playing brilliantly, enough so that I worry we might see him as a contender … I’ll tell you, if he comes back here he has to hit the ground running and show us something real this time.

Marco Tilio has skills. But that was one of the daftest seven figure deals in our history, to pay £1.7 million for a guy playing in the Australian league. Why? Remember, this was a strategy that was meant to find us first team ready players, not people who might be ready in three years.

The same applies to Kwon, a million-pound signing from the second tier in Korea. That signing is moronic on so many levels. He might be doing reasonably well at St Mirren but there is still too much doubt about the sanity of that bit of business.

Hey, if the board wanted to avoid those doubts there was a simple enough move. Don’t put someone called Lawwell in charge of the transfer policy. As I’ve said several times on here, that single decision tainted every single bit of business we did, fairly or not. It removed from all those players any “benefit of the doubt” and as much as anything else everyone at Celtic must have known that shadow could not be cast over the coming summer.

There’s another Celtic player making the news today; Bosun Lawal. And whilst one Lawwell at the club is one too much, I am more and more interested in the reports about the big guy who is on loan in League One. That’s not the highest standard of league, but we bought players from there before – most notably Matt O’Riley and Gary Hooper – and they’ve done alright.

Lawal ticks so many of the boxes. He arrived at Celtic with an outstanding pedigree and great reports from south of the border. This was a project signing, yes, but one that most onlookers who knew what they were talking about said was virtually a no-lose piece of business. The staff at the Watford academy had earmarked him as their team’s future star.

He is now 20, and it’s worth noting that we signed him in 2021, put him in the B team for a couple of years and then loaned him out. Now, with over 40 games at the League One level under his belt, along with good performances for our B side, he’s coming back to Celtic Park with a CV which might have encouraged us to take a punt on him as a squad player.

And this is the interesting part to remember; before he left, he signed a new deal locking him into the club until 2026. And the word is Rodgers wants a proper look. Don’t be terribly surprised if he’s one of the stars of pre-season and finds himself a place. At 6’2 he has the physicality Rodgers likes. If he’s got the other key bits of the skill-set … very interesting indeed.

Only a crazy club spends money it doesn’t have to. It Lawal has done enough down there to impress the coaches at Celtic then that might remove the need for us to spend on midfield cover. There might even be a top player in this guy; only time will tell, he’s at the right age that you should start to see a major acceleration in his development.

The reports on him are stellar. Only Mikey Johnston is getting similarly rave reviews, although Kwon is highly rated at St Mirren, where I suspect we might let him stay another year.

But Lawal plays every week, in a take-no-prisoners environment. He is definitely worth a look, and he is the one who might have the most to offer us, which presumably is why the boss himself is very keen to see him back at Lennoxtown.

Out of all the loanees, that’s the one that piques my interest the most.

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  • Jim M says:

    Agree James,
    Players going out on loan and playing competitive football can do them a world of good, in mikey Johnston case albeit flourishing I think the celtic jersey is to heavy for him ,
    B.Lawel on the other hand does look like a great player in the making, only seen parts of his games in highlights but his dribbling and runs do look good and he’s a big lump of a guy too , I also think due to his age he could break into the team as he’d be looking to impress each opportunity he gets to start or come on as a sub .

    • James Forrest says:

      High hopes for him mate, so many of the boxes are ticked by this big lad.

  • Roonsa says:

    Good call James. I think if the boy has the physicality to play in the SPFL and suits Brendan’s requirements, it would be worth a punt to see if he can do a turn for us.

    However, it is worth noting that, at Fleetwood, he plays in central midfield as part of a 3-4-3. I am not sure where he’d get many opportunities for us unless he can utilise his defensive skills to our advantage.

  • Kevin Dunne says:

    Buson is quality,he can play in various positions ,first time we have had such a versatile player since vidar riseth ,give him his chance he deserves it

  • Brattbakk says:

    He’s playing in a poor team in a very competitive league and doing great, even before he left he was getting good reviews. I’m not sure what position is his strongest, seems like he can play anywhere. Mikey Johnston is a definite no for me, his value is as high as it will ever be right now, cash in. I wonder if Holm and Lagerbiekle would benefit from a year on loan rather than punting them.

  • Effarr says:

    I thought it was Kilmarnock who made Ajer a central defender (and Lawwell who signed
    Lawal.) Maybe Lawwell told him to change the spelling of his mane to avoid “talk”.

  • Stephen says:

    Seen him live in early January playing for Fleetwood against Derby. Was impressed especially in first half. Fell out the game later on but definitely worth a look at back at Celtic Park.

  • John boland says:

    Send Idaho back send lawell on loan buy 2 decent strikers a good six foot plus a left back defensive midfielder central defender keeper get rid of palma and yang khunn and get 2 decent wingers James forest showed them up

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