When young players start their quest to become a professional footballer it’s fair to say that three dreams will be almost universal amongst them all; play in one of the best leagues in the world, represent your national team and play in the UEFA Champions League.
Having spent five years at Arsenal, midfielder Glen Kamara came close to achieving all three by the time he had exited his teenage years.
His exposure to the first team at the Emirates Stadium was limited, with just one League Cup appearance to his name, which coupled an evening unused on the substitute’s bench against Galatasaray in the Champions League.
In the process he won senior caps with his native Finland and at one point, like many before and after him, his future looked very bright in the Gunners’ set-up.
After some difficult loan moves in the English lower leagues and a failure to make the grade in Arsene Wenger’s first team he was ultimately released last summer and, now 22 years of age, is in the process of rebuilding his career in the Scottish Premiership with relegation-threatened Dundee.
Swapping life at an elite Premier League side for Dens Park must have been something of a culture shock for the midfielder, but he’s applied himself well in Scottish football, missing just one league match since signing up and winning the praise of not just manager Neil McCann but supporters of his new team.
Now at the tail-end of his first full professional season, he is finally attracting interest from elsewhere with Scotland’s two biggest clubs, Celtic and Rangers, reportedly in the hunt for his signature this summer.
While inextricably linked in an eternal rivalry, both clubs actually present radically different options in terms of Kamara’s next step on his career path, with the allure of Champions League football at Celtic undoubtedly tantalising and the pragmatic option of more first team football at Rangers an attractive reality.
Celtic’s packed and talented midfield is arguably the strongest area of Brendan Rodgers squad and although Kamara has proven he can cut the mustard in the Scottish Premiership, can he realistically hope to make the starting eleven ahead of players like Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham?
At Ibrox there’s more chance of regular action with their midfield crying out for more dynamic and athletic players who have skill in possession and the strength to protect their defensive line. In his 41 appearances for Dundee this season he’s shown he has the ability to do both.
Some of his most impressive performances of the season have actually come at Celtic Park, where Dundee have only conceded a single goal in two matches, most recently holding the champions-elect to a 0-0 draw earlier this month.
In those appearances Kamara has shown the ability to snuff out threats from the likes of Scott Sinclair and Patrick Roberts while demonstrating the composure to hold off midfield opponents like Olivier Ntcham, retain possession and move the ball onto teammates.
Also quick and with technical ability, he’s demonstrating all the qualities that actually shows he has potential to fulfil his original big club promise from the Arsenal days and be a success at a Champions League level side like Celtic.
The road ahead of him is long and there is improvement needed if he is to perform to a consistently high level but, reportedly available for £1m, he could be a bargain for either Celtic and Rangers in their quest to find capable midfield talent this summer.
Under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers that improvement can come if he commits to potentially having to battle for regular first team football. Similarly, at Ibrox, he can make strides in forging a winning mentality playing in front of a massive, expectant stadium every second week.
Regardless of his destination, he’s a Scottish Premiership player on the up and someone worth taking notice of when the summer transfer window opens.