Celtic are stuck at one of the biggest crossroads they’ll ever come across. Do they stick with their interim manager or does the hierarchy look elsewhere in a bid to revive the Bhoys diabolical year?
It has been a troublesome nine weeks on and off the field as the board room ponder replacements for Neil Lennon.
Despite finding themselves 18 points off top spot when he resigned, it was a surprise to see him depart. After all, the board had been so strongly in his favour.
Perhaps caught unaware by the situation, they’ve struggled to find his successor. The likes of Eddie Howe and Roy Keane are two of the main contenders but even Jose Mourinho has been touted in the last week.
The Portuguese has lost his job with Tottenham and is now available to be lured to Parkhead.
Based on his reputation alone he’d be a mesmerising appointment from Dermot Desmond and co. This is a man who has won one of Europe’s top five leagues on eight occasions. This is a multiple Champions League winner too.
That being said, his style of football and indeed his stock has fallen off a cliff.
What Celtic need right now is an attacking coach, someone willing to take the game to the opposition and dominate their league. Mourinho hasn’t done that for a while and he’s become known for parking the bus.
Despite housing two of the most fearsome forwards in the Premier League – Harry Kane and Heung-min Son – Spurs have had a pretty torrid time offensively.
If we look at the statistics, the north Londoners sit tenth in the table for expected goals at 45.5.
There are some even more damning facts to report, however. Mourinho’s side managed just 11.09 shots per 90 minutes in the league this season, the 13th best tally.
The Lilywhites also sit 13th for shot-creating actions per 90 minutes, a tally that stands at 17.97. On top of that, the progressive distance of their passing is also measly compared to their nearest competitors; managing 33,325 yards, the 12th highest number in the English top-flight.
To reiterate how poor they are at moving the ball forward, you only need to look at their progressive passes. They have the tenth-best number in the Premier League with 30.3 per 90 minutes.
On this evidence, he wouldn’t be a particularly great appointment for Celtic. After all, the Hoops need someone who can drive them forward in the attacking stages of play.
That’s why Young Boys manager Gerardo Seoane would be a perfect appointment.
The 42-year-old’s team have won Switzerland’s top division in both campaigns he’s led at the Wankdorf Stadium. The 2018/19 season was a particularly special triumph with 99 goals being scored, 28 more than any other side, whilst his side won the league and cup double in the 2019/20 campaign.
Young Boys are still very impressive going forward. In fact, this season Seoane’s men are one of the most vertical teams in the whole of Europe.
They manage 82.81 progressive passes per 90 minutes, 51.51 more than Mourinho’s Spurs side.
That speaks volumes but it demonstrates why he’d be more suited to the Parkhead job. Celtic themselves have managed 85.05 on average each 90 for instance.
On top of that, Seoane is particularly good when it comes to managing young players and piecing together a squad with individuals approaching their prime.
This would be particularly important at Celtic because they’re in dire need of transitioning towards a youth approach.
Seoane would be able to develop these players expertly judging by his record at Young Boys.
He was hired when he was just 39 years of age so knows what it means to be handed a chance when you don’t necessarily have the experience under your belt. He is repaying his players with the same faith that Young Boys sporting director Christoph Spycher showed a number of years ago.
“It’s beautiful to see. Right from the beginning, we had 100 per cent conviction in Gerry, a great feeling right from the start,” Spycher commented.
Indeed, Seoane’s team possesses just three players over the age of 30. It has six players below the age of 23 and only five individuals over the age of 25; typically the peak of a footballer’s career.
With that in mind, the young coach could take his team even further given the chance.
Celtic and Dermot Desmond shouldn’t enable him to though. They need to be all over the Swiss manager like a rash; he is perfect for what the club needs and his self professed “passion” and “big emotions” could help the Hoops reclaim their dominance.