Celtic’s season has been full of anguish, despair and anger. No longer does Parkhead play host to the Scottish champions, a title they had for nine straight years.
One of the biggest reasons they’ve been unable to win the league is their defence.
That included letting in a combined total of eight in their two games with Sparta Prague. On paper, the two teams are fairly evenly matched but that didn’t seem to matter.
Defensive errors have been rife. Whether it’s Shane Duffy proving to be a defensive calamity, or their goalkeepers making individual mistakes on a regular basis, it has not been a pretty sight.
Duffy was signed on loan from Brighton at the beginning of the season but for the most part, he’s not looked fit to wear the shirt.
He came on as a substitute against Rangers in January but had a disastrous cameo, nearly being sent off for a tackle on Ryan Kent after Nir Bitton had been shown a red card initially.
It got no better for the Irishman against St Mirren, being described as the “worst culprit” by Paul John Dykes after their defeat. He was also particularly abject against Livingston, completing just 73% of his passes and losing the ball on 23 occasions.
Stephen Welsh has stepped up admirably in recent months but with the fear of Kristoffer Ajer leaving still hovering in the background, they’ll need new recruits.
One of them could well be Liverpool defender Ben Davies. Celtic came close to signing the former Preston centre-back in January but with the Reds desperate for reinforcements, they swooped in under Neil Lennon’s nose and prised him away for just £2m.
It was a development that left Celtic gutted, but they could reignite their interest in January.
That’s according to Gabby Agbonlahor who responded with the following after being questioned by Football Insider whether the Bhoys should make a bid: “Yes, 100%. It’s a very, very strange transfer and I’m sure he’ll be looking to leave Liverpool in the summer and go somewhere where he can play week in, week out.”
Davies is yet to play for Liverpool since swapping Lancashire for Merseyside but a quick look at the stats tells you he’d be an upgrade on Duffy. He is a consistent individual, one that could potentially cost in the region of £10m this summer.
Compared to the Celtic loanee, the £60k-per-week earner also feels far more assured in possession of the ball. According to Smarterscout, a data system that ranks player’s abilities out of 99, Davies’ carry and dribble volume is rated at 79 for a Premier League standard player.
Judging by his previous appraisals, he’d also put his neck on the line.
Talking to The Athletic, his former teammate at York, Calvin Andrew, commented: “He’s robust. He can play. He’s naturally a left-back, I would say. He has that ability on the ball, he can play and see passes. But he’s not afraid of the dirty part of the game and puts his head where it hurts; a really brave and talented young man.”
Davies would clearly add an extra layer of protection to Celtic. They must go back in for him in the summer.