Former Celtic man Frank McAvennie expects the Hoops to make a significant defensive addition this summer after it was confirmed that Shane Duffy’s loan spell at Parkhead was cut short.
The Lowdown: A deal to forget
It’s safe to say the deal involving Duffy last year has been one to forget for all involved.
Celtic reportedly paid Brighton around £2m to take the 29-year-old on loan and were paying around £25,000 of his salary.
He began as a regular under Neil Lennon, however, he started just once in nine Scottish Premiership fixtures before having his stay in Glasgow cut short.
Reports last month even suggested that recruitment chief Gary Penrice was in line for the exit after being the driving force for the failed Duffy signing, which just goes to show how disappointing the deal turned out.
The Latest: Duffy returns; McAvennie’s claim
The big news regarding Duffy’s Brighton return was confirmed last week (via Daily Record). A Celtic source revealed hours prior to the news that the Irishman was unlikely to play for the club again barring an injury crisis, with the Hoops, at the time, having just two fixtures remaining.
Talking to Football Insider regarding Duffy’s loan spell, McAvennie labelled it as a ‘disaster’ before admitting he ‘expects’ the club to sign a new ‘powerhouse’ at the back.
“It’s been a disaster.
“They took a chance and it’s not worked out. He’s not covered himself in glory with some of the performances he put in up there.
“With the sacking of Neil Lennon, or him walking away whichever way you want to put it, that opportunity of him singing permanently has gone.
“There are a lot of loan players there are going to go back to their parent clubs given the season they’ve had and whoever the new manager is will not pursue them.
“It’s safe to say there’s no question mark over Duffy. He’s not done enough and not been good enough. He’s shown fragility at the back that a team like Celtic can’t have.
“They need stronger players, quicker players and better quality players, unfortunately. I expect them to sign a new defensive powerhouse.
“I’m sure Shane Duffy will find another club somewhere and hopefully that will suit him better.
“He’s shown that he’s not up to the job at Celtic.”
The Verdict: A new centre-back should be top of club’s wishlist
In our opinion, a new centre-back needs to be top of the club’s summer wishlist when it comes to player recruitment.
Should Jullien remain sidelined and Ajer seal a move away, that would leave the new Hoops manager with just youngster Stephen Welsh as the only recognised senior centre-back ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Nir Bitton can turn out as a centre-back when required, however, it wouldn’t exactly be ideal if Celtic didn’t make at least one marquee defensive acquisition, and perhaps even a second new addition for depth.
In other news: Celtic managerial hunt takes yet another twist as 8-word admission emerges on 4-4-2 style boss, find out more here.
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