Celtic supporters have been in fine voice in the last few hours after seeing their side book their place in the last-32 of the Europa League on Thursday night.
Brendan Rodgers’ men went into their encounter with group winners Red Bull Salzburg knowing that victory would guarantee their place in the knockout stages, although other results could have been enough depending on how Red Bull Leipzig got on against Rosenborg. And things didn’t look at all good for the Bhoys in falling 2-0 down to Salzburg at Parkhead, only for Rosenborg to do their bit by drawing 1-1 against Bundesliga outfit Leipzig, meaning that Rodgers’ Celtic made it through to the last-32 despite losing 2-1 on Thursday night.
Thus, there have been many delighted Celtic fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are eagerly anticipating their side’s possible run in Europe in the New Year, although it seems pretty clear that further signings will be needed to go deep in the competition.
And with right back Mikael Lustig suffering an injury on Thursday night, and those ranks hardly stocked full of quality as it is, Rodgers could do a lot worse than seek a reunion with Nathaniel Clyne at Celtic Park in January.
Ultimately, the right back department has been something of a concern at Celtic for some time even prior to Lustig’s injury on Thursday night, with the Sweden international not exactly convincing hugely of his capabilities in recent times.
And while his service to the club cannot be knocked, having made the move from Rosenborg back in 2012, one senses that the 31-year-old is reaching the twilight of his career – and if Celtic are to move forward under Rodgers, they may need to replace him.
And with Cristian Gamboa clearly not the answer given his lack of football under Rodgers this term, looking further afield is the order of the day in January, with Liverpool’s Clyne the ambitious deal, ambitious given how good he has been in the Premier League over the years, they must seek to strike in the New Year.
The England international has fallen alarmingly down the pecking order at Anfield following an injury in pre-season back in 2017, prompting the ex-Southampton star to miss the vast majority of last season.
And with compatriots Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez filling in brilliantly over the course of the campaign, they appear to be comfortably ahead of the 27-year-old in Jurgen Klopp’s thinking – thus, regular football seems to be a way away for the Englishman.
But one mustn’t forget just how adept a full back Clyne has been over the years at Crystal Palace, Southampton, and of course Liverpool, with the 27-year-old a regular under Klopp prior to injury, and indeed a regular for England given he has 14 caps to his name following his debut back in 2014.
Clearly, there is an extremely accomplished defender in Clyne, and one that is certainly better than Celtic’s current best option Lustig – he just needs that regular first team football to get him to that level once again.
And with Rodgers’ men embarking on a Europa League journey in the New Year, they have to solve key issues in their squad in January if they are to have any luck in the knockout stages – the right back department is certainly a problem area.
And that is why moving for £18 million-rated Clyne (as per Transfermarkt), who Rodgers signed for Liverpool back in the summer of 2015, is a deal they have to strike if they are to make progress in Europe in 2019.
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