Celtic look like they will give up in their pursuit of Brentford midfielder Romaine Sawyers, with the player likely to remain in the English Championship even if he gets a transfer.
Football Insider reported that Celtic are admitting defeat in their chase for the 27-year-old amid interest from a flurry of Championship clubs.
Football Insider added that Middlesbrough and Stoke are also keeping tabs on Sawyers, who is entering the final year of his contract at Brentford.
The player admitted in an interview with Brentford’s official website that initially he did not like his change of role but grew into it over time, adding that he found an ideal balance with midfield partner Kamo Mokotjo in knowing when to push forward or sit deep.
If Celtic had bought him with a view to playing in the same role, he would have been competing with Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown for a place in the side.
Sawyers is noted for his passing ability on WhoScored.com and his passing success rate of 86.2% is far better than Ntcham’s 77.1%, but still inferior to Brown’s 89%. His tackling average of 1.3 per game is also better than Ntcham’s (0.7) but lags well behind Brown’s 2.4 per match.
If Neil Lennon had planned to use the 27-year-old in an attacking midfield role, he would have had Tom Rogic, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie for competition.
Christie was the leading scorer of the three last season with 11 goals, with McGregor scoring nine and Rogic getting five. McGregor supplied 16 assists and Christie provided nine, both trumping Sawyers in terms of chance creation during 2018/19.
If Celtic had decided to keep up their pursuit of Sawyers, he would likely have found it very difficult to displace Christie or McGregor given their vastly superior goal contributions – even when Sawyers played as an attacking midfielder in 2017/18, he ended the season with five goals and five assists, trailing the Celtic duo’s 2018/19 tallies in both metrics.
He might have challenged Ntcham for a place in central midfield but this would have meant a continuation of not playing in his most natural position.
Sawyers could have been useful for Celtic in terms of having another body but, based on his statistics, it seems unlikely that he would have made a massive impact for the Hoops, who are right to move on and look elsewhere.
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