Nick Hammond, Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon are going to have a monumental job on their hands in January.
This Celtic side are a colossal 13 points off the pace in the SPFL and things surely won’t get any better unless there is widespread change.
For the time being, it looks as though Lennon will stay as manager but it’s evident through their league placing that they need some new playing staff.
Celtic could, of course, generate cash through selling players like Kristoffer Ajer – linked with Milan – but they must balance things cautiously. They can’t afford to lose their star men all in the same window.
One man who has been linked with an exit is Olivier Ntcham. If that happens, then Celtic will need another midfield player.
That could well be Manchester United misfit Jesse Lingard – someone interesting Celtic and Rangers. The attacking midfielder is currently valued at £9m via Transfermarkt but if the Hoops wait until next summer, they’ll be able to sign him on a free transfer when his contract expires at Old Trafford.
A player who has become somewhat of a social media scapegoat in England, he is still a tricky player and he has a whole host of qualities that resemble that of Kris Commons when he played in the famous green and white.
Speaking about Lingard previously, former midfielder Michael Carrick noted: “He moves off the ball very well. It’s something that sounds quite simple, but it’s difficult to defend against.”
Carrick continued: “How he plays, he is unique in some ways. You don’t see so much of that in the game as everyone wants to get on the ball and do something on the ball. Off the ball, he’s very effective.”
A clearer indication of the similarities between Lingard and Commons can be drawn from the stats. During the latter’s final four years at Celtic, he managed an average of 2.4 shots, 1.7 key passes and 0.5 dribbles per game.
Lingard, by comparison, produced 2.8 shots per game in 2015/16 Europa League. In last season’s continental competition, he registered 1.8 shots. There were fewer key passes – 0.8 – but his dribbling down the years is mightily similar to Commons – 0.7 per game.
Of course, the Englishman doesn’t find the net on a regular basis but when he played a level below the Premier League, he scored six times and provided three assists in just 13 matches for Birmingham.
This bodes well for a potential move to Celtic. Hammond could find an absolute bargain here, as well as regaining the qualities of one of the Bhoys’ best midfielders of the last decade.