There is plenty to criticise about Celtic’s wretched season.
Whether it’s the Bhoys’ woeful defensive record or a disrupted boardroom, those at Parkhead have witnessed a troublesome year.
Another area to criticise is Celtic’s production line. They have plenty of promising players coming through the reserves but unfortunately, they haven’t been getting first-team opportunities.
Cameron Harper has left as a result, heading to the New York Red Bulls, while Armstrong Oko Flex nearly joined Huddersfield in January.
A number of players have had to go on loan. Midfielder Luca Connell is a Queen’s Park while talented defender Leo Hjelde is seeing out the term at Ross County.
Though, rather worryingly, their crown jewel and most precious gem could follow Harper and leave. That happens to be Karamoko Dembele.
So often the darling of Celtic’s academy, he’s still only played five times for the Hoops and is now in danger of leaving.
It’s unlikely the 18-year-old sees a pathway to the first team and who could blame him? His contract expires at the end of the season and there doesn’t appear to be a resolution in place.
Celtic have made an effort to bring in a plethora of young talents this summer. They’ve acquired the signature of Liam Shaw while they’re also in the hunt for Wigan forward Kyle Joseph and Rochdale’s Kwadwo Baah.
They are also hoping to dip their toes into the Scottish market to sign Thomas Robert.
The Frenchman is currently an Airdrie player but spent a few weeks on trial with Celtic earlier in the year. He was unable to train with the senior side due to the pandemic but he clearly relished his time at Lennoxtown.
Teammate Leon McCann said: “Thomas is quite a quiet boy but he said it was a fantastic experience and that Celtic looked after him very well.
“He got kitted out in all the Celtic gear and they let him keep it.”
Robert embodied a child at Christmas when he donned their training jerseys and after catching the eye, a permanent switch could be on the cards.
With Dembele leaving, he’d be the perfect replacement. The Hoops teenager is known for creating havoc down the flanks, beating opponents with sublime trickery and pace. Those are qualities that caught the eye of Ruud Gullit a few years ago.
“I saw Dembele on YouTube. What a player,” he exclaimed. “He is exceptionally good and left-footed as well,” Gullit continued.
What sets Robert apart from others are similar qualities. The 20-year-old winger dazzles down the flanks and looks set for a bright future.
Airdrie full-back, McCann added: “Thomas is technically brilliant. He’s just so comfortable on the ball, he has amazing feet and it’s so easy for him to just glide past players which is why he gets fouled a lot.”
With that in mind, he’d be an ideal signing for Celtic, a player who could have the Green Brigade forgetting Dembele even existed.