This article forms part of our Transfer Scenario feature, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at a recent transfer rumour and suggests what the potential consequences would be, should a deal be completed.
With Celtic retaining their one-goal advantage at the top of the Scottish Premiership last weekend, The Telegraph have reported that Hoops manager Neil Lennon is keen to add to his squad during the January transfer window.
According to The Telegraph, one of the names on Celtic’s radar is Niklas Dorsch, a 21-year-old defensive midfielder currently playing with FC Heidenheim in the German second tier.
The Germany under-21 international spent six years with Bayern Munich’s amateur side and scored on his first-team debut against Eintracht Frankfurt, but that would be his only senior appearance for the Bundesliga champions before he dropped down a level to sign for FC Heidenheim in 2018 in order to play more regularly, as per The Telegraph.
The Telegraph claimed that Dorsch has a release clause of €3.2m (£2.75m) in his contract, which Celtic would not perceive as an obstacle in a potential bid for the player.
We explore some of the potential consequences for Celtic if they follow through on their reported interest to sign the 21-year-old midfielder:
The addition of a midfielder with a well-rounded skill set
Dorsch plays mainly as a defensive midfielder, so it should come as no great surprise that he is adept at winning possession for his team, with an average of 2.6 successful tackles per game this season. In Celtic’s Europa League campaign, only Boli Bolingoli and Scott Brown have posted better averages.
The German isn’t purely a midfield destroyer, though. He is excellent in his use of possession, with a 91.7% passing success rate from 62.5 passes per game, more than anyone in Celtic’s squad. He is also well able to take on opponents, averaging 2.5 successful dribbles per game, a ratio that tops every Hoops player this term.
He contributes to his share of goals as well, having scored once and provided three assists in 14 games so far this season (as per TransferMarkt). Only five Celtic players have higher assists tallies in 2019/20 and they all play in attacking roles. Therefore, Dorsch could be an effective deep-lying creator who can win the ball for Neil Lennon’s team and make very good use of it.
Long-term successor to Scott Brown
Celtic’s long-serving captain is now 34 and, while he continues to be a first-team mainstay with 26 appearances already this season, retirement could soon come into view for the veteran midfielder.
Brown will take some replacing at Parkhead, having made almost 550 appearances for the club, scoring 42 goals and providing 59 assists. In the well-rounded Dorsch, though, Celtic may have identified a young defensive midfielder to pick up wherever the current skipper leaves off once he calls it a day, with Dorsch’s tackling ability indicating that he is a combative yet fair player.
Possible departures of out-of-favour midfielders
Celtic have two defensive midfielders in their first-team squad in Luca Connell and Eboue Kouassi who have yet to feature so far this season (as per TransferMarkt).
Connell joined the club this summer but, at just 18 and having been utilised only in the Scottish Challenge Cup, the Hoops seem to have him in mind as a player for the future rather than the here-and-now.
Kouassi hasn’t played for the first team since suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Hearts just over a year ago (as per Sky Sports) and had been linked with a possible move to Panathinaikos earlier this year, according to Football Insider.
Dorsch’s possible arrival would likely make it even harder for those two players to get into Celtic’s first team and they may need moves elsewhere, either on loan or permanently, to obtain regular game-time.
Celtic fans, do you think Dorsch would be an astute signing by the club and what effect do you think it might have on the squad if it happens? Join in the discussion by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!