Celtic are in the middle of a hefty period of transition.
It’s a policy that has already seen the Bhoys welcome Liam Shaw to the club in time for the manager’s appointment at Parkhead.
Celtic’s migration in transfer policy is a timely one with players like Karamoko Dembele breaking into the senior set-up. They are fortunate to have young Celtic defenders Stephen Welsh, Leo Hjelde and Adam Montgomery rising through the ranks too.
Montgomery and Welsh made their first-team breakthroughs this term but Hjelde is yet to earn senior minutes for the Hoops. Instead, he enjoyed a loan spell at Ross County in the back half the campaign, earning lofty comparisons to a certain Virgil van Dijk.
With those three players in mind, it would appear that Celtic’s future in defence looks like a solid one.
That said, the Bhoys are aiming to bolster their ranks by bringing another special young talent to Paradise, with Barcelona defender Mika Marmol catching their eye.
According to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, Celtic, Getafe and Mallorca have all enquired about his availability.
At the age of 19, Marmol is very much one for the future, and he’s a player who would be perfect for Howe and Celtic. Described as a “manager’s dream” by David Bravo of Barca Universal, he possesses all the modern-day qualities that any coaches would love in a defender.
Having progressed through the famous La Masia academy, he is adept at playing with the ball at his feet; an area where Hjelde has also shown encouraging signs.
This is important due to the large levels of possession Celtic enjoy per game, and because they’ve enjoyed great success with a ball-playing defender in their ranks such as Kristoffer Ajer. Coincidentally, they are both able to play in wide and central areas.
Capable of featuring at centre-back or left-back, Marmol offers great versatility and the ability to be a threat going forward.
Talking about the Spaniard’s strengths, Bravo added: “As a natural left-back, he continuously contributes to attack with his forward runs and, mostly, his pinpoint crosses. When he is in a static position, he’s able to raise his head, pick his target and deliver an exquisite cross with his delicate left foot.
“His biggest attribute is his positioning and reading of both offensive and defensive actions. His brain and positional intelligence is well above the average. His decision making is truly admirable, and this tends to be the difference-maker for footballers.”
When playing in the middle of defence, Marmol provides plenty of physical qualities, an area of his game where he has reportedly developed well this season.
An unknown quantity at senior level, this would be a shrewd addition from the Celtic hierarchy and it should play into the new manager’s hands nicely. The youngster’s playing style seems perfect for the 43-year-old.