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Celtic’s struggles in the Champions League are very well documented. With virtually no competition in the Scottish Premiership at present, Celtic are being judged on their European form and the report card is pretty unremarkable.
Players such as Stuart Armstrong and Scott Sinclair are a testament to the gap in quality. Armstrong has 13 goals and 7 assists in 27 games in the Premiership from midfield, but this becomes zero from 5 in the Champions League group stage. On the other hand, Sinclair has 20 goals and 7 assists from 30 games in the league and he has nothing too in 5 Champions League group games.
With this in mind, bringing in young and hungry players mustn’t stop altogether, as they may well find another gem such as Dembele. However, in the shorter term, they need to find a couple of players who are proven in the Champions League. Here are two such players.
We’ve mentioned in our earlier articles about the potential need to replace Mikael Lustig in order to increase their chances of progressing in the Champions League and Rafael would do that brilliantly.
Having come through the ranks at Old Trafford, the Brazilian right-back moved to Lyon two years ago for a surprisingly small fee. Should he be available at a reasonable price again, the former Man United man should be targeted immediately.
Rafael has made 36 appearances in the Champions League already and certainly belongs in that class. He represents the sort of player who Celtic need. The fact that he can fill in on the other side means that his signing would soften the blow of losing Kieran Tierney too (if it happens).
Should they fail to re-sign Patrick Roberts on loan next season, Campbell would be an ideal replacement. A similar type of player; Campbell loves to play on the right and cut in onto his favoured left foot.
Another player with some strong footballing education in England, Campbell started out with Arsenal before going on loan to Olympiakos. He is currently with Sporting in Portugal and is well travelled. He knows his way around European football and is a Costa Rican international with 68 caps and 14 goals.
Campbell has so far managed 17 appearances in Europe’s top competition and would not need any settling-in time should Celtic make it through to the group stages. 3 goals and 4 assists in Portugal this season show that he has the capabilities for going forward and would certainly make an impact at Celtic Park.