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It is no secret that reigning Scottish champions Celtic are on the lookout for a new central defender ahead of the January transfer window. The Bhoys have started off their ongoing domestic campaign where they left off last time around but injuries to key men in defensive areas have affected their performances throughout the season.
The likes of Dedryck Boyata, Erik Sviatchenko and Jozo Simunovic have all spent significant time out on the sidelines and the latter two are yet to return to action, leaving Brendan Rodgers to use midfielder Nir Bitton in a makeshift centre-half position. The gaffer has admitted to being on the lookout for a new centre-back come the winter window, and as per reports from the Daily Record, the club have identified Reading defender Liam Moore as a potential target.
The 24-year old has starred for the Royals since his move to the Madejski Stadium in the summer of 2016 and his performances seem to have impressed the Celtic boss. With Moore being on the radar of Celtic, here we take a look at five things that the fans should know about their team’s latest transfer target.
Born in the Loughborough town of Leicestershire, Moore started off his footballing journey with the Leicester City academy and rose rapidly through the academy, impressing across all age groups. The centre-back captained the Foxes’ youth side, that made it to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2010-11 before he earned a promotion to the reserves in the subsequent term.
Despite having been on Leicester City’s books till 2016, Moore has had very limited experience in the Premier League, having featured only 11 times in the English top-flight, which came in the 2014-15 campaign under then manager Nigel Pearson.
In the 2015-16 season, when the Foxes made history, winning the Premier League, Moore did not get a winners’ medal as he did not feature in a single game. His only appearance for Leicester that term, came in an EFL Cup tie against Bury, after which he was loaned out to Bristol City.
Having been low in the pecking order at the King Power Stadium and following loan spells away at Brentford and Bristol City, Moore decided to move on in search of regular playing time and joined Reading in 2016. Under manager Jaap Stam’s guidance, the 24-year old flourished at the Madejski Stadium and played an important role in the Royals’ reaching the playoff stages of the EFL Championship. However, in the playoff finals against Huddersfield Town, Moore missed a penalty in the shootout, which allowed the Terriers earn a promotion to the Premier League.
While Moore may primarily be a centre-half, the 24-year old can easily fill in at right-back too and has even been used as a left-sided full-back on a couple of occasions during his youth career. The former Leicester City man is a very good passer of the ball and is very comfortable in possession, as indicated by his 82.5% pass accuracy in the Championship this term with an average of 56.5 passes played per game, which is a high number for a defender. Composed and comfortable in possession, he will be a good fit at Celtic.
The 24-year old is able to represent both England and Jamaica at the international level. In 2009, Moore made his debut for the England U-17 side and featured thrice for the team and has also represented the U-20 side four times in 2014. He was called up to the Three Lions’ U-21 side in November 2012, making his debut against Northern Ireland in a friendly. He went on to feature nine more times for the U-21s but is yet to make a senior appearance for the Three Lions.