This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Lewis Morgan has hinted that Neil Lennon sees him staying at Celtic Park this summer after spending the second half of last season at Sunderland.
The 22-year-old winger has said that Lennon hopes he can bring something different to his side: “He’s been clear on what he wants from me and he wants me to bring a new dimension in the team.”
This seems to imply a fresh start at Parkhead for the Scotland international, who was unlucky not to earn promotion while on loan at Sunderland, missing out in a dramatic play-off final loss to Charlton.
Morgan has made an impact at Celtic already this season, impressing against FK Sarajevo in the Champions League qualifiers.
Morgan staying at the club means that, barring any shock exits this summer, there is a ridiculous amount of competition on the wings.
On top of the 22-year-old, Scott Sinclair, Jonny Hayes, James Forrest, Marian Shved, Mikey Johnston and Karamoko Dembele can be called upon to play as wingers.
Seven first-team options in one role is a lot, particularly when it’s fair to assume that an injury-free Forrest nails down one of the starting berths. The 28 year-old directly contributed to 38 goals last term, so there is effectively six players fighting for one spot.
Youngsters like Dembele probably don’t expect to play 50 games this coming season, but you’d hope to see them in a Celtic shirt occasionally, being bedded into the first team with a view to explode onto the scene in the coming years.
Yet with such fierce competition ahead of him, all of whom are older and more experienced and therefore less risky choices for the manager, he will see his chances of first-team football severely restricted.
Dembele looks a real talent too. The 16-year-old is some way off becoming a first-team regular but impressed in his sole appearance for the Hoops thus far, and Lennon did say back in June that he would join the first-team, stating that the teenager is “ready” for the step up.
And yet, with such a stockpile of more senior options all fighting for what is likely to be just one spot, keeping Morgan, who is only 22 himself, looks likely to completely stifle any hopes of seeing Dembele on the pitch this year on a consistent basis.