Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has said that only Callum McGregor, David Turnbull and Stephen Welsh stand out as players exempt from a looming squad overhaul at Parkhead.
Interim boss John Kennedy will oversee the concluding four games of the season before the club make a final decision on Neil Lennon’s long-term managerial successor.
Kennedy has been unable to salvage the Hoops’ campaign. On Sunday, they were beaten 2-0 by arch-rivals Rangers in the Scottish Cup fourth round, a result which confirms their first trophyless season since 2010.
They are also 20 points adrift of Steven Gerrard’s men in the league table, a damning state of affairs.
‘Practically a blank sheet of paper’ for incoming Celtic boss
Writing in his Record Sport column, Sutton predicted that Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer would follow loanees Mohamed Elyounoussi, Jonjoe Kenny and Diego Laxalt out the door.
In his eyes, only McGregor – set to take over as captain as Scott Brown heads to Aberdeen – midfielder Turnbull and centre-back Welsh are guaranteed to be part of the long-term picture.
“It’s practically a blank sheet of paper,” Sutton wrote.
“What’s on it? Callum McGregor, David Turnbull are on there, you maybe give youngster Stephen Welsh the benefit of the doubt even if he wasn’t at his best against Rangers.”
Sutton added: “It’s a heck of a shopping list at Celtic Park if they are to even think about having a chance of wrestling the title off Rangers next season.”
At the start of the month, it was reported that Celtic were on the verge of appointing former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
However, no announcement has followed, and Football Insider have claimed that the 43-year-old has entertained a rival approach from Crystal Palace.
Transfer Tavern verdict
If you were a Rangers fan assessing Celtic’s predicament, you would be licking your lips. With a summer of upheaval ahead, it seems unlikely that they will be unable to strike back quickly, even under new management.
Their crosstown rivals have looked a level above this season, progressing to the Europa League round of 16 and going 34 league matches unbeaten.
In terms of the players who will still be at Parkhead next term, Sutton is justified in advocating the cases of Turnbull, McGregor and Welsh based on their generally solid performances throughout the current campaign.
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