Euro 2016 is just around the corner and with the biggest, most diverse group of teams the tournament has ever seen, there’s never been a better time for clubs to send the scouts and find a few gems.
Celtic are looking for fresh blood and, er, character in their quest to usher in a new period of success under Brendan Rodgers. Euro 2016 offers a chance to pick up players ready for first team European football given the quality of teams heading to France.
The usual ‘beware of those who’ve had a good tournament’ warnings apply, but while baring that in mind, we still think these FIVE players bound for Euro 2016 would be a good fit for Rodgers and Celtic next year…
Before leaving Dutch side Heerenven in 2014 Icelandic striker Finnbogason was heavily linked with a move to Glasgow. Ultimately priced out by La Liga side Real Sociedad, Celtic missed out that time around.
He’s struggled to find a place in Spain however and two loan moves this season to Olympiakos and FC Augsburg means he’s still trying to find a home.
His 50 goals in 70 games for Heerenven prove he would add a potent threat to Celtic’s frontline and this could finally be the right time for the switch.
Duje Cop is one of a trio in the preliminary Croatian squad for Euro 2016 who could really add something to Celtic’s first team. Like Finnbogason he’s spent the latest portion of his career on loan at two clubs, Malaga and Cagliari.
Before that he was top scorer in Croatian football in 2013/14, his 22 goals that year part of a 43 goal total in 67 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb. That’s a scoring record that is sure to pique interest in the striker.
Marko Rog is an exciting and dynamic young midfielder who is attracting attention from big clubs all over the continent.
The Croat has already made over 100 senior appearances despite being only 20 years old. At such a young age he certainly fits the profile of Celtic signings in recent years, the Hoops believing they can develop players and sell them on at a profit.
Despite signing for Dinamo Zagreb just last summer, Celtic could offer a better chance of Champions League football this time around given they are seeded in qualifying and have brought in a box office manager.
The last of the Croatian trio is young attacking midfielder Ante Coric. Like Rog, he fits the Celtic transfer profile with plenty of first team experience already at the age of 19.
He’s yet to win a cap for Croatia but having represented his nation at all age levels and recently being named Croatian Young Player Of The Year, he’s been included in the provisional squad for Euro 2016. In 2014 he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the Europa League at the age of 17 years and 157 days.
The reality is he may be beyond the reach already for Celtic as he is already attracting interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid. However, he is yet to make an impact at international level and this summer could be the right time for the Bhoys to go all out and offer a package to attract him to Glasgow before he ends up at one of the elite clubs.
Obviously Belgian international Jason Denayer is well known to Celtic fans, having won Scotland’s Young Player of the Year award in his season long loan from Man City in 2014/15.
After signing a 5 year contract at Man City on his return last summer he went out on loan to Galatasaray for the season, notching up 25 appearances. With no European football for them next year a return to Turkey looks unlikely.
Couple that with Pep Guardiola being under pressure to deliver a title winning defence and we could see young Denayer allowed to continue his development elsewhere for the third season in a row. He would be more than welcome back at Celtic Park and with Rodgers’ proven track record of improving young players it could be the ideal destination for him.