Versatile Paddy McNair can provide excellent squad depth at Celtic

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

Celtic are one of the teams interested in signing versatile Middlesbrough man Paddy McNair this summer, according to The Northern Echo.

What’s the story?

The Hoops have finally announced their first signing of the summer this week, with defender Christopher Jullien arriving from Toulouse to help bolster the defensive line.

It’s now important that the recruitment team at Celtic Park move on to other targets and one of the players being looked at is Northern Ireland international McNair.

The Echo reckon that manager Neil Lennon is a long-time admirer of the midfielder-stroke-defender having watched his progress at Manchester United and with his national team.

The paper say that Sheffield United are also in the hunt and could pay as much as £5m for the player, similar to the fee that Middlesbrough bought him for.

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Why are Celtic interested?

With Celtic potentially playing another 60+ game season next term, they need a squad that can cope with the demands of the schedule without a drop in quality.

McNair is a player able to feature in multiple positions having played Championship football in midfield, the centre of defence and at right-back last season.

He made his senior breakthrough at Man United before making the switch to Sunderland and subsequently Boro, so has Premier League and second-tier experience, which suggests he is capable of playing in the Scottish Premiership.

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Scott Brown is currently the only combative, defensively minded midfielder available to the Hoops, with the others in the first-team squad excelling in the opposition half.

McNair can play that role and also slot in to defence if needed, potentially saving the need for the club to buy another central defender this summer.

Having that kind of versatility could be incredibly useful, even at the reported £5m, strengthening both the midfield and defence with one signing.

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