Celtic

Celtic: Birger Meling being ‘hunted’ by Scottish champions

Celtic: Birger Meling being ‘hunted’ by Scottish champions

Celtic are ‘hunting’ Rosenborg left-back Birger Meling as a potential transfer target to reinforce their options in that sector of the pitch, according to a pundit from Norway.

The Evening Times reported that Norwegian TV pundit and former player Jesper Mathisen said: “Meling has been hunted a bit by Celtic. They sold their left-back [Kieran Tierney] to Arsenal, so they have a hole there.”

Mathisen pointed out that the 24-year-old had played against Celtic for Rosenborg last season [via Evening Times] and he also scored against the Hoops in a Champions League qualifier.

Despite signing Boli Bolingoli earlier this summer, Celtic are continuing to pursue a left-back replacement for Tierney, with Greg Taylor and Rico Henry both being linked with the club by the Daily Record in recent days.

Meling has made 105 appearances for Rosenborg since joining them in February 2017, scoring four goals and providing 18 assists. That works out at one goal per 26.5 games and an assist every 5.83 matches, the latter figure suggesting that he is an excellent creator of chances from the left-hand side.

The 10-cap Norway international plays predominantly as a left-back but has displayed great versatility during his career, filling in across the defensive line, as a left winger and also in defensive midfield [via Transfermarkt].

He recorded impressive defensive statistics in four Europa League group stage games for Rosenborg last season, in which he averaged three tackles and 1.8 interceptions per match [via WhoScored.com].

Brentford left-back Henry has scored once and supplied three assists in 37 games for the club, an average of one assist every 12.33 games.

He averaged 1.6 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game for the Bees last season, both of which are inferior to Meling’s figures.

Kilmarnock’s Taylor has played 128 times for his current club, scoring once and providing 10 assists (one per 12.8 games).

While the Scotland left-back had a far inferior goal contribution output to Meling, his defensive statistics are even better than the Norway man’s.

Taylor won 4.11 aerial duels per game last season and averaged 4.72 interceptions per match, as per statistics from Wyscout [via Herald Scotland].

Meling is far more likely than either Henry or Taylor to offer Celtic an attacking threat from the left-back position.

Defensively he seems a more industrious option than £7m-rated Henry (via Daily Record), although Taylor has the edge on the Norway defender for some metrics.

Still, with Meling valued at just £1.35m (according to Transfermarkt.co.uk) and able to shuffle into positions other than his usual left-back role, he could represent excellent value for Celtic if they decide to submit an offer to Rosenborg for him.

Celtic fans, do you think Meling would be a more worthwhile left-back target than Henry or Taylor? Share your views in the comments section below!

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