With Celtic’s pursuit of Eddie Howe seemingly now a matter of when and not if, the Bhoys can begin thinking about the colossal rebuild that will be needed among the playing staff.
The Hoops have been left in a very awkward place by Neil Lennon’s departure in February and the hierarchy are trying their utmost to clear the rubble and paper over the cracks.
Celtic have been on the tail of Howe for over a month now, with the need for a new permanent boss becoming ever more urgent as the days elapse.
Once the 43-year-old arrives in Paradise, assuming no last-minute hitches, he will have an almighty job on his hands.
It’s likely that he will be greeted by a desire from Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer to leave the club, while he will also be faced with a Celtic side shorn of the leadership qualities of the exit-bound Scott Brown in the dressing room.
With that in mind, Howe will need to act quickly and decisively in the transfer window.
This will be a big transition for the 43-year-old, who has only managed Bournemouth and Burnley in his career, so bringing some familiarity into his life at Parkhead should be near the top of his agenda.
After all, there is a reason he tried so hard to convince the Hoops to take Richard Hughes as their new director of football. One player he and Howe brought to Bournemouth together was former Manchester United forward Joshua King.
The Norwegian was a pillar of the Cherries’ Premier League transition, scoring 48 top-flight goals in England. Now at Everton, his form has fallen by the wayside – he has not scored for the Toffees and has been linked with a move to Parkhead once his deal at Goodison Park expires this summer.
Signing a forward with only three goals all season might not look very appealing, but he’s got a lot to his game which could benefit Celtic.
First and foremost, Howe knows how to get the best from the £45,000-per-week earner – King played 170 times under the Englishman and scored 50 goals in the process. Capable of playing on the wing or through the middle, he would offer versatility and frightening speed.
Talking about the Norway international back in 2020, Howe commented: “He’s a massive part of our team and has been for a long period of time. He brings unique pace and strength coupled with really good technique and an eye for goal. He can also play a number of positions for us – making his versatility key.”
In a nutshell, that describes why he should be the impending new manager’s very first signing in Glasgow. The duo already have a strong working relationship and King could add much-needed attacking depth at Celtic, with a number of offensive players facing the exit door.
Available on a free transfer, there is little risk attached to this deal at all. Howe would be making a smart move by reuniting with King.