Celtic allowed left-back Boli Bolingoli to head out on loan this summer to Turkish side İstanbul Başakşehir and consequently were left with only one left-back at the club in Scottish international Greg Taylor. Neil Lennon took his time but finally found his replacement for Bolingoli on transfer deadline day.
AC Milan defender Diego Laxalt made a loan move to the Scottish champions to give them some healthy competition in the left-back position. This now raises the question as to who Lennon will favour in that role and former Celtic star Frank McAvennie has given his opinion on the matter.
What did McAvennie say about Celtic players Laxalt and Taylor?
Speaking to Football Insider, McAvennie believes that Taylor now has a battle on his hands to remain in the starting XI. He said: “Greg (Taylor) has not had anyone to challenge him for his place since he has been there and now he has got a fight. Taylor will relish it and he will be watching Laxalt.
“One thing we do know about Laxalt is that he will be able to defend. They teach you how to defend in Italy.
“This boy has some engine so I will be expecting him to burst forward, because that is the modern game, but I am sure he will also be a great defender.”
Does Taylor have a battle to stay in the Celtic XI following Laxalt’s arrival?
The majority of Laxalt’s games last season were on loan at Torino, and his stats back up McAvennie’s views when it comes to defending. The Uruguay international featured 16 times in Serie A and averaged 1.2 tackles and 1.1 clearances per game, via WhoScored.
That is similar to how Celtic’s first-choice left-back Taylor has performed in his eight Scottish Premiership matches so far this season, per WhoScored. He has managed 1.4 tackles and one clearance on average in 2020/21.
However, Laxalt might come in as cover to begin with, as Taylor offers a bit more in attack – along with his three assists (compared to Laxalt’s one), he has averaged 1.3 key passes per game this season, whereas the Uruguayan only averaged 0.4 key passes.
Who do you think will start at Celtic?
There is no doubting the quality of Laxalt, as he has featured 24 times for Uruguay, per Transfermarkt, and has an abundance of experience in Serie A.
The healthy competition should bring out the best in players but Taylor might still keep his place for now. However, he should know that one slip in form and Laxalt is waiting in the wings to replace him.
Hoops fans, do you think Laxalt will immediately supplant Taylor at left-back? Comment below with your views!
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