Compared to recent seasons, it is probably fair to say Celtic have not had the greatest of starts to the campaign considering the club’s very high standards.
The Bhoys currently find themselves in third place in the SPL table while they were knocked out of the Champions League qualification stage by Greek side AEK Athens.
That being said, Brendan Rodgers’ men are only three points behind the current SPL leaders Hearts and still have every chance of making it out of their Europa League group.
Had the likes of Stuart Armstrong and Patrick Roberts remained at the club, though, Celtic may just have found themselves in a better position heading into November.
Armstrong left Celtic Park for Southampton during the summer, but has yet to make much of an impact in England having mainly been used off the bench by manager Mark Hughes.
Despite his struggles in his new surroundings, Armstrong is still a midfielder with a lot of quality, which he showed during his time in Glasgow.
And the 26-year-old is a player former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan believes Rodgers could desperately do with given the lacklustre performances from the team’s forwards on a few occasions.
“At this moment in time, Celtic’s flair players aren’t on form, so they need to find another way,” Strachan wrote in his Paddy Power column towards the end of last month. “Which shows how they’re missing Stuart Armstrong. His runs could push a defence back another eight or ten yards. At the same time, shouldn’t he be missing Celtic, too?”
As alluded to by Strachan, Armstrong has the ability to offer a goal threat from midfield. And with the Scotland international on the periphery at his new club, Celtic should strongly consider re-signing him in January.
TT Grade: B+
Roberts had successful loan spells at Celtic with his initial one beginning back in February 2016 before leaving parent club Manchester City for Spanish side Girona this summer.
However, like Armstrong, £6.75m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Roberts has been on the fringes in his new environment, failing to make any starts in La Liga.
But again, the 21-year-old is another player to have flourished at Celtic Park in recent seasons and possesses the sort of attributes that could have really helped the Glasgow club in some of their defeats this term.
The winger is great at taking on players with his pace, low centre of gravity and overall directness.
Ultimately, Roberts is an individual who can add a bit of a spark to a side and if his situation at Girona does not change, Celtic must try and take advantage of it should he return to Manchester City earlier than planned.
TT Grade: B
Armstrong and Roberts are players Celtic could definitely do with. But if it ever came to a toss between the two, Rodgers would be wise to choose the former.
While Roberts would certainly give the Bhoys a massive boost in attack, the team are not without decent options there.
Armstrong, however, can offer Rodgers’ side something different altogether with his midfield runs — as mentioned by Strachan — a tool that could offer an extra dimension to the SPL champions.
Therefore, Armstrong just about edges this battle of the ex-Celtic players.
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