Making Celtic better seems like a difficult task when you consider they’ve just romped to an unbeaten domestic treble.
Brendan Rodgers swept into Glasgow last summer as a popular appointment by the club’s board, but he exceeded all expectations in his debut season.
Not only did he sign some stars, he improved plenty other and implemented a style of play that made Celtic unstoppable in the league, Betfred Cup and Scottish Cup.
By the end of the campaign, all that was left to improve was Celtic’s European record – which wasn’t too bad either considering they coped well in a Champions League group which included Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach.
That’s where we see improvements being made by Rodgers this summer – but how will he go about doing that?
Signings should be important – so here are five players who could make Celtic better in some key positions next season:
Centre Back – Pontus Jansson
Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic formed a formidable partnership towards the end of the season and deserve a chance to prove themselves in Europe next term – but have they shown enough to guarantee success? Boyata may be seen as the one who could be replaced if Rodgers strengthens at centre back – and Ponsson could be the man to come in. He was a standout for Leeds in the Championship last term, making 36 appearances as the Elland Road side just missed out on the play-offs. He’s a Sweden international and already has experience in Europe from his previous spells with Malmo and Torino. Signing Jansson could be a big boost for Rodgers and Celtic.
Right Back – Anthony Ralston
This isn’t a new signing as Ralston is currently coming through the club’s youth academy. At just 18, he’s made two first team appearances for the club – his most recent coming in a home win against St Johnstone towards the end of the season. Rodgers obviously rates him and it would go down well with fans if the club could unearth a right back to rival left back Kieran Tierney in popularity. Perhaps Ralston could dislodge Mikael Lustig at right back next term?
Centre Midfield – Lars Stindl
Signing Stindl would lay down a huge marker for Celtic this summer – but it’s not lost on us how difficult that would be. The German midfielder is one of Borussia Monchengladbach’s top players and has a contract until 2021. But Gladbach failed to get Champions League football for next term and, at 28, he’s got to have his sights on playing at that level regularly? Stindl is a quality operator and would compliment Scott Brown magnificently with his range of forward passing. A midfield of Brown, Stuart Armstrong and Stindl would be pretty formidable in Europe next term.
Centre Midfield – Aleix Garcia
Celtic have benefitted from a relationship with Manchester City over recent years, signing Jason Denayer and Patrick Roberts on loans that turned out to be hugely successful for both parties. Maybe Garcia could be the next to make the move from Manchester to Glasgow? At 19, he’s at the right age to go to Celtic for experience before returning to City. But, he has had a taste of first team football at the Etihad already and, based on those performances, he could be a big hit at Celtic. Just like Stindl, Garcia is a rangy passer and could provide some much-needed quality in the Hoops midfield.
Right Wing – Viktor Fischer
With Roberts exiting Celtic, Rodgers needs a quality right midfielder – and Fischer could be just that. He’s already been linked with a move, believed to be a cast-off from Middlesbrough after their relegation to the English Championship. His time at Ajax suggests he’s a lot better than England’s second tier and a move to Celtic would give him a chance to play at the highest level. Just like Roberts, he’d contribute a lot in the final third, operating from a position Celtic are undoubtedly weak in. He’ll cost, but it could be worth it for Rodgers.