This summer will witness a changing of the guard at Parkhead. Celtic will have a new manager, a new CEO and they may also have a director of football on their hands.
We could also see plenty of players leave. Diego Laxalt, Jonjoe Kenny and Moi Elyounoussi will all depart at the conclusion of their loan deals while Scott Brown is also out of contract.
Odsonne Edouard has regularly been linked with a move to the Premier League but there is a rarely-seen player who could walk through the exit door; Jack Hendry.
The 25-year-old has only ever been a bit part of Celtic’s plans and as such, was loaned to Belgian side Oostende this season. His performances have been eye-catching, however, so much so that he’s now also being linked with a move to England.
It’s been reported that Burnley, Brighton and Sheffield United are all chasing his signature. That’s without forgetting about Oostende’s option to buy the centre-half once his loan deal expires.
Though, Celtic would be rather foolish to bin Hendry without handing him a second opportunity at Paradise.
He has been one of a few players actually binding this team together in 2020/21. Hendry, however, could be an immense replacement for the Norwegian.
Speaking about the defender this term, his manager at Oostende, Alexander Blessin said: “He’s a great talker in defence. He makes the people he’s playing with better. You can see them listening to him. He’s been a tower of experience for us.”
Blessin continued: “Jack’s the most important member of the team this season and he’s one of the best defenders in the league. He can defend, he’s fast and he’s also a useful weapon at attacks because of his height.”
A player with great height, a weapon from offensive situations and a leader of men; Hendry possesses all of the traits that make Ajer such a useful asset for Celtic.
You only need to look at the statistics for a clearer indication of what he can bring. In the Belgium Pro League this season, the centre-back has won an imperious 2.9 aerial duels per game. For comparison, Ajer has won 3.2 aerial battles per match. Evidently, there is little between them.
Like Celtic’s Norwegian colossus, Hendry is also adept at playing out from the back, amassing a pass success rate of 84.5% this term.
With all of this in mind, selling the centre-back during the summer would be madness. He has developed significantly this season and would fit seamlessly into the Bhoys’ backline. He must be unleashed next season.