Considering how poor Celtic have been this season, the idea of adding nobody to their squad in January seems hard to believe.
Yet, that’s the conclusion we look to be reaching. Despite sitting 23 points behind Rangers in their quest for a tenth SPFL crown in a row, they are seemingly happy with their squad.
If we’re searching for positives then they have at least kept hold of their best players. Kristoffer Ajer is still in Glasgow while the highly sought after Odsonne Edouard remains a Hoop for now.
Though, they do look as though they’ll see Olivier Ntcham walk through the exit door. The Frenchman has been out of Neil Lennon’s plans in recent months and is now being linked with a loan move to Newcastle. If that does materialise, it’s likely there will be an option to buy in the terms.
Celtic arguably needed an extra protective layer in their midfield anyway but if Ntcham leaves, that only becomes even more important.
Fortunately, they have a player on their radar that could fix a number of their problems. That happens to be former Stoke City midfielder Giannelli Imbula.
The 28-year-old is out of contract and available on a free transfer after departing Sochi earlier this season so represents a fantastic option in the market. Not only would he give them more depth, but he’d help to replace Ntcham and also potentially make the Bhoys better defensively.
Celtic have been terrible at the back this season and have shipped 13 more goals than Rangers in the league, despite playing two fewer matches. An eye-watering number of individual errors have plagued their backline but in signing Imbula, it could ensure that the ball doesn’t reach the centre-backs as regularly.
That’s because the Frenchman is a tough-tackling brute in the middle of the park, earning comparisons to one of the greatest box to box midfielders we’ve ever seen. During his time at Stoke, Xherdan Shaqiri only had praise for Imbula, saying: “You can compare him to Patrick Vieira, only Gianelli is all left-footed.”
At his peak, the midfield general won 2.4 tackles per match for Marseille. With someone like that added to Celtic’s ranks, just imagine the incredible force they’d have with both Imbula and Ismaila Soro.
The Ivorian has very quickly become one of Lennon’s most important players and has won a colossal 3.7 tackles per game in the Europa League. He’s also recorded 1.8 successful challenges per match in the Scottish Premiership.
Only a few days ago, Soro made as many as eight tackles in a Man of the Match display against Hamilton. He may have given more protection to this Celtic team but they are still leaking goals, something emphasised during the 2-1 defeat to St Mirren.
Therefore, signing another defensive midfielder in the shape of Imbula is vital. Celtic recruiter Nick Hammond must get this deal done if Celtic have any desires of improving at the back.