Celtic head into the international break top of the Premiership despite a 0-0 draw with Livingston on Sunday.
It seems that Brendan Rodgers’ men have found their feet after a slow start and a poor summer transfer window.
Following the loss of Moussa Dembele, missing out on John McGinn and some quite clear discontent from the manager, the upcoming January window is now more important than ever.
Injuries to Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths and more recently Oliver Ntcham, mean that the Celtic squad whilst looking impressive has become very stretched.
Additionally, Eboue Kouassi and Daniel Arzani are both ruled out for the rest of the season.
So we’ve identified the key areas where the Celtic board should splash their hard earned cash in January.
A definite area for improvement that seems to stand out in this Celtic side. Mikael Lustig, who is now into his seventh season at the club, has been on a slow decline for the last year or so.
The experienced Swede is still an asset to Celtic but is clearly losing his ability in his regular starting berth. In a terrific team performance against RB Leipzig, the 31-year-old was the weak link. His passes went astray far too often and his lack of concentration stood out as he let his man go at the back post for the German equaliser. A common theme so far this campaign.
His understudy, Cristian Gamboa doesn’t seem to be any better. The Costa Rican, like Lustig, appeared in Russia in the World Cup and on both accounts it’s hard to see why.
Despite his blistering pace, his defensive errors simply mean he isn’t up to standard and can’t earn the trust of his manager. His bizarre appearances in the European qualifiers are only down to a necessity as there is usually nobody else fit to play.
Gamboa was given an opportunity against Leipzig in Germany but failed to take his chance after a rash challenge led to the opener and also saw him leave the pitch injured at half time.
The third option of young Anthony Ralston has seemed to have faded away despite a good start to last season and an impressive loan spell at Dundee United at the end of the campaign.
A few appearances on the Hoops bench has been the extent of what we’ve seen of the academy graduate so an investment into a new first-choice right-back must be high on Rodgers’ list.
With just six goals conceded so far in the league season, it seems Rodgers has found his favourite defensive pairing in Dedryck Boyata and Leicester City loanee Filip Benkovic.
Despite a rosy period at the back, there is a problem on the horizon. Boyata’s summer antics have been well documented and with his current Celtic contract running out in the summer, January is the last opportunity for the board to cash in before the Belgian can leave for free in the summer, assuming an unlikely new deal is not agreed before then.
Benkovic, who has been a revelation and oozed class alongside Boyata will be returning to Leicester in the summer when the loan deal expires. His £13 million move to England makes it seem very unlikely a further deal for the Croatian could be struck.
Former Dundee defender Jack Hendry has struggled with the step up in quality since his move last January and still has a lot to learn. Young Kristoffer Ajer has been impressive but like Hendry is still learning his trade, meaning the loss of both Boyata and Benkovic would leave a huge hole in the defence.
Injuries have not been kind to Celtic this season.
With Kouassi ruled out for the rest of the season and concerns being raised over Brown’s fitness, this leaves a lot of pressure on the likes of Ntcham.
While Ryan Christie has stepped up in recent weeks, one more injury could leave Rodgers short of options in the middle of the park.
The aforementioned sale of Dembele on deadline day last summer has left Celtic with just two frontmen in the side.
Although Odsonne Edouard has thrived in his lone striker role recently with eight goals in his last nine games, Rodgers has been very short of options with the injury-stricken Leigh Griffiths still struggling with his fitness.
Griffiths, who withdrew from the last national team squad to focus on his fitness, picked up an injury just days into the international break and has not been seen since the 6-0 drubbing of St. Johnstone.
The 28-year-old has missed 11 games so far this campaign and any injury to Edouard would leave his manager with a real lack of striking options.
A third striker seems to be a clear target for the club in January after Rodgers insisted that the club need three options in the final third.
A target man could be the type of striker that Celtic aim for, as it seems Odsonne Edouard prefers to drift out to the left side and someone who could be stronger in their hold up play would be beneficial with the talent that Celtic boast in midfield.
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