The Chalkboard: Defenders are badly needed at Celtic and Lennon must deliver them early

Now that Neil Lennon knows he will be taking permanent charge of Celtic heading into next season he can get on the with the business of rebuilding a squad at the end of its current cycle.

The club may have just won a treble for the third consecutive year but fans will be expecting that success to be sustained, with the dream of progressing in Europe also a consideration.

With experienced players like Mikael Lustig out of contract and others first-team regulars such as Dedryck Boyata leaving, the Hoops boss has quite a task ahead of him when it comes to strengthening his squad for the challenges ahead.

On the chalkboard

The defensive line is the key priority for Lennon this summer, with arguably four or five defenders in different positions needing to come into the club and replace those moving on and improve upon what’s already available.

At centre-back both Boyata and Filip Benkovic will not be around so two quality first-team ready players will be needed to compete with Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic.

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At right-back, Anthony Ralston is currently the only player expected to be available and given he has hardly played any matches for the Hoops over the last few years then another first-team calibre star is required in the position.

Those are simply the signings needed to keep up the numbers in the squad currently and although less of a priority, fans are craving a left-back that can play effective back-up to Kieran Tierney, who has been overused and run down in recent seasons to the detriment of his fitness and health.

Setting the tone

It’s fair to say that Lennon’s appointment has been fairly divisive amongst supporters of the Hoops, with many feeling he is a step backwards for the club and not able to maintain the standards set by Brendan Rodgers.

The way to get fans on board will be to both comfortably take care of early European qualifiers and also show real intent in the transfer market.

Fans are concerned that Lennon is simply the cheap option, but by showing authority and bringing in the signings he wants early in pre-season, he can demonstrate to supporters there is no reason to worry.

Sign a few quality players and there’ll be more hope around Celtic Park, providing the momentum needed heading into the new season.

Article title: The Chalkboard: Defenders are badly needed at Celtic and Lennon must deliver them early

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