Celtic could be on the verge of signing a one-time English Premier League winner in the coming days.
According to Football Insider, the 32-year-old right-back had agreed to join the Scottish champions for a training stint with a view to securing a permanent transfer.
However, the arrival of Ricardo Pereira last summer led to the 32-year-old being deprived of game time, starting only three Premier League games last season and playing just nine times in total during 2018/19.
Simpson is the type of right-back who does not have a tendency to bomb forward at will, as outlined by JJ Bull in The Telegraph.
In Leicester’s Premier League-winning season, he recorded impressive statistics for the defensive side of his game, averaging 1.7 tackles, 4.2 clearances and 0.6 blocks per match. It was his excellent tally of 3.1 interceptions per game, though, which really stood out.
By the 2017/18 season, the latest in which he played regularly, those figures had diminished to 1.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.4 clearances per game, although those statistics are still more than respectable in their own right.
One area of weakness in Simpson’s game, though, is his ability on the ball. In the year that Leicester won the Premier League, he had a poor passing success rate of 71.6%, a figure that dropped to 69% the following season. Also, the aforementioned tendency to hold his position rather than charge upfield restricted him to just 0.2 key passes per game.
Anthony Ralston is currently the only natural right-back in Celtic’s squad and, like Simpson, he is a defender who is more likely to help the team retain possession in the defensive third than execute passes into the attacking third.
A scouting report on thecelticbhoys.com noted how Ralston had a 76% possession win percentage in the defensive third of the pitch but played only 12.44 passes per 90 minutes which broke opponents’ defensive lines.
Simpson and Ralston seem to be quite similar in their styles, so the ex-Leicester man is unlikely to add anything drastically new to the position if he signs for Celtic.
However, he has proven himself in the Premier League to be a reliable defender adept at cutting out opposition attacks, and with Celtic very light in the right-back position, Simpson’s increasingly likely arrival should be greatly welcomed.
Celtic fans, would you like to see Simpson getting a contract at the club? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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