Celtic’s pursuit of Eddie Howe has been a lengthy and drawn-out affair.
The Hoops were thought to be in advanced negotiations with the 43-year-old at the beginning of April but a number of sticking points have emerged in their chase since.
Howe doesn’t want to move to Parkhead or into any other job before the summer while they’ve also had to wait until Bournemouth’s season finished.
The Englishman managed the Cherries over two spells and wanted to bring a number of their coaching staff to Paradise with him.
Their campaign has now come to a conclusion so a deal could begin to accelerate in the coming days.
Though, if it continues to stall then Celtic chiefs should consider Frank Lampard for the vacant position.
Lampard lost his job with Chelsea back in January and has had a number of offers to return to management since. He’s caught the eye of the Bhoys and despite a deal for Howe being on the table, they are reportedly still keen on the 42-year-old.
Crucial for the Hoops is that he possesses Champions League and European experience, something he can easily one-up on Howe.
Celtic are in dire need of appointing someone used to the rigorous demands of continental football and league football.
Howe has managed in the Championship where the fixture list is pretty gruelling in itself but the travel demands aren’t quite as tough.
Lampard, however, is familiar with the mentality and attitude needed to flourish on two stages at the same time.
Having left Brendan Rodgers “really impressed”, he’s received the seal of approval from a former manager at Parkhead. Vitally, though, he’d offer the club a manager adept at working with young players.
Celtic are stuck in a transition period at the moment where they need to move away from older statesmen like Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths, and instead move towards the next generation.
Karamoko Dembele and Adam Montgomery made more of a breakthrough towards the back end of the season and could profit from a manager like Lampard.
He mentored Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount at Derby and then Chelsea as the pair rose to prominence. Lampard helped progress Reece James towards being a candidate for England’s squad at the upcoming European Championships and finally gave Tammy Abraham a chance to thrive at Stamford Bridge.
Last season, meanwhile, the former England international fielded the fourth-youngest squad in the entire Premier League with an average age of 24.3.
If anyone is finally going to extract more from Dembele and the club’s reserve side, it’s Lampard.
Combine his mentorship with the fact Celtic can register a reserve team in the Lowland League and a pathway suddenly begins to emerge at Lennoxtown.
That’s something that was very rarely the case under Neil Lennon.
Therefore, if Howe’s move does fall by the wayside, they certainly have an attractive alternative lined up.