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Before the sudden fuss became known over the 22-year-old Croatian Jozo Simunovic, Celtic’s apparent saleable defensive asset was Denmark international Erik Sviatchenko.
At just 25 years of age and with his value steadily climbing, Sviatchenko finds himself at a slight crossroad in his Celtic career. Either his improvement will see him be identified as a vital part of their upcoming campaign, or his increasing value will see the club attempt to cash in on him, as they have in the past with the likes of Virgin van Dijk.
Having played just 18 games (14 in the league) for Celtic in his first season, Sviatchenko was recognised as an important first team player last time around and was rewarded with 43 appearances in total. He has since been linked with a host of clubs and the brutal fact is that once that happens with players in the modern day Scottish Premiership, they tend to move on.
As well as apparent interest from clubs in England in the past, Sviatchenko is now wanted by Turkish side Besiktas and by all accounts the club are willing to sell. The rise of Simunovic, as well as the agreement of Brendan Rodgers to give game time to Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer# means that the player could well be on his way out.
I’d say not, given Rangers’ certain improvement this time around, as well as the club’s need and desire to perform better in the Champions League. To attempt what they did last season with increased competition looks impossible and so losing some of their squad is an obvious negative.
Giving Besiktas what they want should also be a definite ‘no’. The Turkish side want to take the defender on loan and partner him with new signing Pepe from Real Madrid, meaning Celtic miss out on one of the best years of his career while also not receiving a proper fee.
With the prospect of playing alongside the multiple La Liga, Champions League and even European Championship winner on the table though, I would imagine Sviatchenko pushing for the move and this could make things tricky.
The answer to whether Celtic should sell Sviatchenko is definitely no, unless you have taken leave of your senses. But as to whether he will go, well, there’s probably a different answer in truth. Celtic need to at least get the best deal and that means a permanent sale for a good fee.
From there, Rodgers can at least get more cover in before the season starts. Simply put, they should keep hold of Simunovic, as it will mean no appreciable loss of quality for the next twelve months overall.