By Ryan Fleming
With a fresh, new outlook coming into the 2011-2012 season, Celtic, and newly extended manager Neil Lennon, are looking for new talent to boost them on top of the Scottish Premier League.
Finishing a mere one point behind crosstown rival Rangers was certainly a disheartening way to close out the previous season. But after Lennon signed an extension just weeks ago, and Celtic threatening to make their first signing of the transfer window, the Hoops are showing signs of finally having their pieces in the right places.
With the almost certain singing of Victor Wanyama, Neil Lennon adds a young, but versatile piece in the Celtic midfield. Despite the recent rumors of skipper, Scott Brown’s departure to the likes of Newcastle, Lennon states that he won’t send the midfielder packing anytime soon. Like a familiar story, Brown is one of some disappointment. Labeled as a future star, Brown never flourished as was once thought. Instead, the fiery Scotsman provides Celtic with some muscle and speed that the Northern Irishman sees as too vital to shoo away.
With the arrival of Kelvin Wilson on July 1 from Nottingham Forest, the Hoops added some depth to the team’s backline. With the aging Swede, Daniel Majstorovi? playing well, the Hoops wanted to add depth and youth to, until the departure keeper Fraser Forster, the team’s most worrisome position. On some of the team’s biggest supporters forums the main concern is that Lennon will head into the season with ?ukasz Za?uska as the team’s No. 1 in net.
Since joining the team in 2009, the Polish international has appeared in only 14 matches for the Glaswegian club, never solidifying himself above countryman Artur Boruc or the newly departed Forster. A possible replacement thrown around was Ireland international Shay Given. Given, whose time at Manchester City has been largely on the bench, has been linked with Celtic for the past few years. Like most rumors, it came to nothing. Now it appears as if Celtic will again lose out on obtaining the talented keeper’s services to Aston Villa.
With some questions still in place Celtic are primed, probably better than the last three years, to challenge Rangers for the SPL title. While the additions of talent are still needed keeping Beram Kayal, Emilio Izaguirre and Gary Hooper out of the hands of richer clubs will also provide a feisty challenge.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at Ryan.Fleming@thesoccerguysonline.com.