With the Premiership title sewn up already, Celtic will ride out this season aiming for a Scottish treble as they attempt to go the entire domestic season unbeaten – it really has been an excellent campaign for the Glasgow giants.
Although most clubs in their position could simply sit back and enjoy their success, the Bhoys will have a short summer as their annual Champions League qualification pursuit kicks off.
Brendan Rodgers’ men will have to enter the running for a place in the tournament proper at the second qualifying phase once again, which will see them playing competitive football as soon as mid-July – as they did last year with a double-header against the Lincoln Red Imps of Gibralter.
All told, Celtic will need to get through six matches to make the group stage and with Patrick Roberts likely to depart when his loan ends, while other players will surely be wanted, the Hoops will need to be decisive in the transfer market.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 27, 2016
One player they were aligned with in the winter just gone was Darlington Nagbe of Major League Soccer outfit Portland Timbers (above), and with the player having confessed that it would be “great” if the club revive their pursuit of him, a move makes some sense…
The 2017 MLS season may only be five games old for the Oregon team, but the Timbers are flying high atop the Western Conference with three wins to their name, and Nagbe has been a key player. The USA international has laid on two assists in his quartet of outings, while supplying seven key passes and seven shots, and making 90% of his passes stick – not bad for an attacking wide player.
A deal may be tricky to pull off after the winter saga, but the 26-year-old might be able to hit the ground running for the qualifiers at the mid-point of the American season.