Steven Caulker could be on his way to Celtic this summer, according to reports.
The English defender is on the lookout for a new team with Queen’s Park Rangers keen to offload him on a free transfer before the start of the new season.
He last played a competitive game in October last year and has had his fair share of issues with form and health which have affected his availability on the pitch.
But Caulker appears willing to get his career back on track – and here’s why Celtic should be jumping at the chance to help him do that:
He Can Play
There’s no doubting Caulker has talent – you don’t play for the clubs he’s played for, earned the international recognition he’s had and go for the money he’s went for if you don’t have something. He’s just not had the right opportunity for long enough to show that on a consistent basis.
He’s Got Top Level Experience
Caulker has played for Tottenham, Swansea, Cardiff, Queen’s Park, Southampton, Liverpool and Queen’s Park Rangers among others in his career and six of his seven-year career have been spent in the Premier League. Add one England cap and a load of youth run-outs to his CV and you get a player who knows what it takes to play at the top level.
He’s Only 25
Caulker is one of those players who seems like he’s been around for longer than he actually has, but his first team debut for Tottenham only came in 2012. You’d expect him to be moving into the peak of his career at this age and that would suit Celtic, who want players to play right, but also develop and potentially sell on in a few years.
Celtic Need More Centre Back Options
With Dedryck Boyata’s three-month injury lay-off, Celtic suddenly look a bit weaker in the centre of defence and that may explain the interest in Caulker. Kristoffer Ajer could offer support for Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko, who are the first choice central defenders right now, but a more experienced option would make the squad a lot stronger both domestically and in Europe.
The powerful defender’s contract at QPR expires at the end of next season and the club seem willing to cut ties with a big earner who hasn’t been available to play for the last nine months. You have to think that if Caulker had been playing then he’d cost a couple of million to sign, but that’s not the case and Celtic could benefit from the unusual situation.
He Knows Brendan Rodgers
Caulker spent a season under Rodgers while both were at Swansea in the 2011/12 Premier League season so they know each other well. It was the Hoops manager’s comments on Caulker last week that perhaps started talk of a move north for the defender. Per thescottishsun.co.uk, Rodgers said: “He’s a boy that, if he can get it together and find a peace, then he is an awesome talent. He is 6ft 3ins, quick, strong, he can play. You would take him to war with you. Steven is unbelievable in both boxes. He is an incredible young footballer, but he is suffering.”
He Needs the Motivation
As Rodgers alluded to in those comments, Caulker has had some issues over recent years and went public in June with his battle against alcohol, gambling addiction and depression. A fresh opportunity in a different place could be perfect for the English defender and reuniting with his former manager Rodgers can only help.
It’s difficult to find something wrong with Celtic going for Caulker, but what do the fans think?