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Pondering over the areas in his Celtic squad where Brendan Rodgers can work on during the summer, it’s important to split their goals. Winning the Scottish Premiership this season, even with Rangers now back in the big time, has been a foregone conclusion. Next season, regardless of any inroads made by Rangers or Aberdeen, they will start as heavy favourites once again to win a league.
Celtic’s general area of improvement would be, of course, their performance level in Europe. Two draws against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City team, plus a stalemate in Germany against Borussia Monchengladbach has made some Celtic fans believe they truly belong at Europe’s top table. In truth, though, those ‘positive’ results actually form part of a run which has seen Celtic fail to win a Champions League game in their last 7 attempts. Indeed, 3 wins from 11 against Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps, Israel’s Hapeol Beer Sheva and Kazakhstan’s Astana do not ultimately increase their Euro profile.
With that in mind, they need players of sufficient quality and temperament to perform on the biggest stage. Playing youngsters, local boys or those stepping up from ‘lesser’ clubs in Scotland will not be a problem in the league. Players of quality will surely be needed in the Champions League, even if it means bringing in those who are slightly older to be wheeled out.
Starting with the obvious; If Moussa Dembele leaves the club in the summer, then there will have to be a replacement brought in the place of the Frenchman. Of course, it would be difficult to find someone like Dembele, but a reasonable attempt at reinvestment of the transfer fee they get for the Frenchman should get them a good quality centre-forward for sure.
Although Sviatchenko is doing fine in Europe, it looks like the other centre-half, Kolo Toure is not a genuine answer at that level anymore. Buying a new centre-back who can handle Europe’s top strikers is a massive and necessary task should Celtic wish to progress.
Supporting the main goal-getter, especially when it isn’t Dembele, will be crucial next year. Celtic have depth in this department with Armstrong, McGregor, Forrest and Scott Sinclair but none of them set Europe alight. Should Dembele be sold, it will be fascinating to see how much of those funds Brendan Rodgers will be furnished with to strengthen the rest of this side.