In a rapid turn of events, Celtic find themselves linked to a new face at the hilt of the club. Despite being in desperate need of some new playing personnel, Peter Lawwell could well be looking to replace treble-winning Neil Lennon as his first port of call.
According to The Mirror, former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez looks set to usurp the Irishman in Celtic’s hierarchy. The Spaniard has made the decision to close his chapter in China and return to the UK to embark on his next journey. He is heavily tipped to be the next Hoops boss and bringing him to Parkhead would be a stroke of genius from the board.
Celtic have endured a turbulent 2020/21 season due to battling injury issues, unexplained dips in form and their inability to keep up with their Glaswegian neighbours. Rangers have one hand on this campaign’s title after wedging a gargantuan 23-point gap between themselves and the reigning Premiership champions.
This will be the first season in ten years that Celtic will not lift the trophy. They have also bowed out of their Europa League run after being humiliated in the group stages. The Bhoys managed to accumulate just four points out of a possible 18 and they conceded the joint most goals of the competition at that stage (19).
Key players have also been linked to moves away from Celtic Park, which will only add to the club’s inconsistent form. Kristoffer Ajer is someone who is being heavily monitored by rival clubs and teammate Odsonne Edouard has also been identified by the likes of Arsenal and West Ham as a potential new signing, via the Express.
Should Celtic appoint Benitez, it could be enough to convince the prolific £19,000 per week striker to remain in Scotland. According to Transfermarkt, Edouard has scored just seven times in the league this season, heavily contrasting his unstoppable 21 goal, 12 assist run last term.
Lennon has made his feelings about the Frenchman clear – constantly waxing lyrical over his influential displays. He recently lauded him as a “special talent” after Edouard scored a hat-trick on the opening day of the season.
The passion may have gone from the 23-year-old’s performances, which would explain his recent goal drought. Knowing Celtic won’t be winning their tenth consecutive Premiership title will have dampened spirits and a player like Edouard will be hungry for silverware.
Benitez has found success at many clubs, from winning La Liga with Valencia, the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool to his Championship and promotion-winning season with Newcastle. His natural flair for getting results could be enough for Edouard to at least give Celtic one more season before moving onto pastures new.