Celtic winger Mikey Johnston appears set for a departure from Parkhead this summer, with manager Ange Postcoglou having made a decision on the youngster’s future.
As per Football Scotland journalist Mark Hendry, the 23-year-old is said to be currently ‘weighing up offers’ from a number of suitors regarding a potential loan move, having failed to establish himself as a regular fixture with the Old Firm outfit.
The report suggests that the Scotsman has been told he is free to leave in the coming weeks, with Postecoglou hoping for the academy graduate to earn regular game time elsewhere.
The report goes on to add that former Hoops boss Ronny Deila is keen to take the winger to Belgian side Standard Liege, albeit with the Glasgow-born gem currently considering alternative destinations as he looks to revive his career.
That decision to let him depart temporarily appears the right call from the title-winning coach, with Johnston unlikely to be handed too many opportunities this season such is the wealth of attacking options at the 56-year-old’s disposal.
The former Yokohama boss currently has the likes of Jota, Liel Abada, Daizen Maeda and James Forrest as options on the flank, while recent reports have also seen the Scottish champions linked with a move for Barcelona’s Alex Collado – a player who can slot in both out wide and in an attacking midfield role.
As for Johnston, the £720k-rated man will seemingly be unsurprised as to his current fate, having been restricted to just 20 appearances in all competitions last season, with injury woes once again hampering his involvement as has been the case throughout his senior career.
After a breakthrough 2018/19 campaign in which he scored five league goals in just 14 appearances – followed by a further six goals and six assists across all fronts the following season – the £7.9k-per-week dud has failed to score in each of the last two seasons.
Such a dismal record has ensured that he can have no real complaints over his slide down the pecking order, with a fresh start likely to be needed as he looks to try and kickstart his floundering career.
The hope will be that the highly-rated forward, whom teammate Joe Hart recently lauded as “incredibly talented”, can hit form wherever he does end up over the coming weeks, with it still not out of the question that he could force his way back into the manager’s plans next season – with three years still to run on his current deal.
If he does ignite elsewhere then he could either be reintegrated next summer or be sold for a more sizeable fee, while if he fails to deliver then Postecoglou’s decision to let him depart will have been vindicated.
A lot may be on the line for the player, but for the manager, it is potentially a win-win situation.