We may only be coming to the end of the 2016 but I think bar an almighty collapse Celtic are going to go on and win the Scottish Premiership this season in Brendan Rodgers’ first season at the club. With domestic silverware already clinched thanks to League Cup success the green and white of Glasgow will be aiming for a very realistic treble tilt come the end of this campaign,
But with the title all but wrapped up already manager Brendan Rodgers will now begin to plan ahead for next season and it will not just be domestic dominance that he has in mind but also reaching the Champions League Group Stage for the second successive season. To achieve that Rodgers will look to bed in new faces in the next few months so that he can get a head start on next season’s preparations.
So let’s now look at three players that could be joining the Scottish giants in a bid for success on both home and European fronts
The former Wigan Athletic midfielder has put a number of clubs on alert with the news that he has a desire to quit Everton once the January transfer window reopens and it’s believed that Celtic are set to be heading the queue to sign the 26 year old in the next couple of weeks.
McCarthy is struggling to make a first team berth his own at Everton under Ronald Koeman and although the Republic Of Ireland has made his way back into the side as of late he has still only managed 6 Premier League appearances so far this season.
McCarthy was ready to quit Goodison Park in the Summer with Celtic heavily linked with a bid to sign him but at the time he decided to stay and fight for his first team place under new Everton boss Koeman. Now it seems that desire to leave has been reignited and a move to his boyhood club Celtic could be in the wings.
The only stumbling block could be McCarthy’s wages but if Celtic want to make a serious impact in Europe next season they may well have to be prepared to loosen the purse strings to give them the extra quality that was so obviously missing during their Champions League outing this season.
Someone else who is on the Celtic scouting radar is Crystal Palace’s Jordon Mutch and with Alan Pardew looking to bring in some new faces of his own next month then there is not going to be much of a fight to stop Mutch walking out of the Selhurst Park exit door.
The 25 year old has only featured once in the Premier League this season and has been told that he does not feature in Pardew’s Palace plans going forward. With that in mind it gives Brendan Rodgers the perfect chance to add Mutch to what is admittedly an already over crowded midfield department at Celtic Park.
That is something that Rodgers is looking to trim over the course of the next few weeks and months but that’s not to say that there won’t be new faces coming to the club either and it seems they may be able to acquire the services of Mutch for a relative bargain.
He cost the South London club £4.75m when he moved across London from QPR just two years ago but it’s believed that he could be signed for as little as £2.5m as the Crystal Palace exodus begins to take shape in the New Year. After making 20 Premier League appearances last season his lack of game time has been somewhat of a fall from grace and it seems a departure from The Eagles could be the best for all parties.
Another name that has been linked with a move to Celtic next month is that of Junior Flores of Borussia Dortmund. This is a player that has been on Rodgers’ radar for some months now with the former Liverpool boss believed to have made an initial bid for Flores back in the Summer.
What may well work in Celtic’s favour this time around though is the fact that Flores is out of contract in six months time. Not only does that mean that he is able to talk to foreign based clubs in regards to a move but Celtic could offer a nominal fee in January to speed up the move. In doing that it would stop the prospect of the USA Under-20 international leaving Dortmund for nothing once his contract expires, a move that would obviously suit the German giants.
Flores joins a long list of American youngsters who have attempted to ply their trade in the Bundesliga but unfortunately for Flores he has never made it to the top flight with his game time being restricted to the clubs reserve side which features in the German Fourth Division. Even then opportunities there have been slim with Flores having an unfortunate run of injuries during his time there.
It seems as if Dortmund are now prepared to cut their losses and are ready to let Flores leave. The question now is whether a move can be agreed in the New Year or whether it comes down to the 20 year old running out his contract. One thing that is for sure is that his days at Signal Iduna-Park are coming to an end.