Talk emerged this weekend that Celtic’s soon-to-be out of contract defender, Dedryck Boyata, could be on the verge of signing a pre-contract with Bundesliga outfit, Hertha Berlin.
Reports on Mail Online (via Germany’s Bild newspaper (in German with subscription required) claimed that the Belgian international is poised to join the German club.
Their Hungarian coach, Pál Dárdai, will be hoping to take the club forward from a mid-table side, to one that can challenge for European spots, and obviously see the former Manchester City defender as the perfect fit for his defence.
But Neil Lennon, despite admitting previously that the player may have made his last appearance for the club, played down the talk, and insisted he is hoping to see the player remain in Glasgow.
Speaking of the news of a potential deal with Hertha, Lennon said: “‘I’m not aware of that.
“Dedryck was here at the game today.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there is interest in him but we are still hopeful that we can persuade him to stay, which would be great for everyone.”
It would be a blow for Celtic to lose the Belgian, but by far, the biggest negative would be losing him for free.
That said, with a permanent manager still being sought — whether that is Lennon, or someone else — whoever is appointed is likely to be given transfer funds, which could be used to replace the defender.
But how big a loss would Boyata’s departure really be to Celtic?
He is a big player for the team… when he plays. And therein lies much of the issue.
Over the past three seasons, according to Transfermarkt.co.uk, injuries have been a problem for Boyata, and have caused him to miss 35 per cent of Celtic’s league games — not including a spell in the 2016/2017 season where he was simply left out of the squad after a previous injury.
This season alone has seen him miss 14 of Celtic’s 33 league games, working out at 42 per cent. In fact, injury has seen him on the sidelines for over a third of league fixtures in each of the last three seasons.
Due to the constant success of the club, it means they will always be playing in three domestic competitions, and European games too — whether Champion’s League qualifiers, group stages, or Europa League games — and that means high demands of players at Celtic Park.
So if a player is missing a huge chunk of games every year, then in many respects — regardless of his ability — he becomes something of a liability for the team.
With that in mind, we at the Tavern don’t think it would be as big a blow to Celtic in the long-term, as it may appear.
If they could invest funds into a suitable replacement — someone they could get a high percentage of games out of — the effects of Boyata’s departure would soon be forgotten.
As mentioned previously, the biggest annoyance is seeing the player leave for no fee, which is largely out of the club’s control.
What do you think of Boyata’s rumoured departure, Celtic fans? Would you see it as a massive blow? Or is no player irreplaceable? Let us know your thoughts…
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