According to Football Insider, new boss Neil Lennon has sanctioned the decision to allow Nir Bitton to remain at Celtic for another season after lobbying the club not to let him go this summer.
A Celtic source told Football Insider the club hierarchy had actually discussed the possibility of terminating Bitton’s deal and paying him off, but Lennon – the man who signed him from FC Ashdod back in 2013 – wants him to see out the final year of his contract.
On the face of things, it may come as a surprise to some that Lennon is so keen on keeping hold of the midfielder, 27, who only managed 10 appearances for the treble winners in the recently-completed campaign due to a knee injury which saw him out of action for 346 days, as per Transfermarkt.
However, we can’t help but think this decision makes sense. The Israeli may have been fairly anonymous this term, but he has made 181 appearances for the Parkhead giants since joining all those years ago and has been a valuable squad player – if anything – during the club’s dominance of Scottish football, which has recently seen them lift the treble treble with a victory over Hearts.
Lennon apparently considers Bitton an asset due to his experience and versatility which enables him to play in midfield or in central defence, a trait which belongs to so few in the current line-up other than perhaps Kristoffer Ajer. Indeed, Scott Brown will be another year older and Dedryck Boyata has already departed, so there are obvious holes in the squad, with the 27-year-old at least an in-house solution ready to go.
Although it’s not hard to imagine Celtic being favourites for the title next season, it wouldn’t hurt to have that extra bit of security in midfield to ensure a fairly straightforward journey to glory, especially from a man who has already helped himself to six titles, three Scottish Cups and three more Scottish League Cups.
Celtic fans, are you happy with Bitton sticking around? What role do you think he will play next season? Let us know in the comments below…