Celtic FC Opinion: Hoops should avoid signing Antonio Barragan
Celtic FC News: According to The Scottish Sun, Celtic have been credited with an interest in Real Betis right-back Antonio Barragan, with the report claiming that Hoops boss Neil Lennon is keen to complete a few more additions to his backline before the deadline.
Celtic made the headlines earlier in the summer with the big-money acquisition of French centre-back Christopher Jullien from Toulouse, while versatile Israeli defender Hatem Abd Elhamed and Belgian left-back Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo have also been brought in to add depth to the club’s defensive options.
However, Celtic are apparently keen to do more business this summer, with La Liga star Antonio Barragan on their radar. Having addressed their issues at left-back and centre-back, Lennon has now turned his attention to strengthening his options on the right-hand side of the backline.
Barragan, though, is not the only right-back on Celtic’s radar, with The Scottish Sun claiming that the Hoops have identified Basel’s Swiss international Silvan Widmer, as well as highly-rated Lech Poznan prodigy Robert Gumny, as the other potential targets this summer.
The 32-year-old Spaniard made a total of 24 appearances for Real Betis this past season, as the Spanish club finished 10th in the La Liga and missed out on European qualification.
Barragan also featured on 5 occasions in Betis’s Europa League campaign which ended with a defeat at the hands of Rennes at the Round-of-32 stage.
Just to remind the fans, Barragan is not a stranger to English football by any means, having spent his formative years at Liverpool, although he made just a solitary competitive appearance for the Reds before moving back to his homeland.
The right-back has enjoyed a nomadic, yet successful career in Spanish football over the past decade or so, plying his trade with the likes of Deportivo La Coruna, Real Valladolid, Real Betis and, most notably, Valencia, where he made 151 appearances in all competitions over the course of five seasons.
Barragan made a sensational return to the Premier League ten years after his exit from Liverpool, signing for newly-promoted side Middlesbrough in the summer of 2016.
The veteran defender impressed with his consistent performances in English football but he couldn’t help Boro beat the drop, as the Teessiders went straight back to the Championship after spending just a single season in the top-flight.
To put things into perspective, Celtic have spent quite a lot to strengthen their defensive options this summer but right-back is an area which is still in need of investment, given that the Hoops can ill-afford to rely on Elhamed as a makeshift option for the entirety of the upcoming campaign.
It is true that Celtic are going to have to dig deep in the market to find the ideal replacement for Mikael Lustig but Antonio Barragan, though a really established right-back in European football, won’t necessarily be the best choice for the Hoops.
Barragan is already 32 and while Celtic might still manage to get a couple of good seasons out of the Spaniard, he is at a stage in his career where his powers are going to be on the decline very soon.
Strong on the tackle, dominant in the air and capable of contributing to the attack with his intelligent link-up play, the 32-year-old has a bagful of top-level experience under his belt but Celtic should preferably look for a long-term solution.
Keeping all the aforementioned factors in mind, Celtic would be better off shifting their focus towards younger alternatives in the market in order to ensure stability in their ranks for the foreseeable future.
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Bringing Barragan to the club this summer and then cashing in on him after a couple of years would hardly work wonders for the Hoops, as they need to ensure that whoever comes in as a replacement for Lustig stays at Parkhead for many more seasons to come.