Celtic defender targeted by Italian Serie A duo

The summer transfer rumour mill is now in full swing concerning potential moves in and out of Celtic Park.  While the majority of the focus so far has been on potential recruits such as the Australian Marco Tilio coming in to bolster the squad, the latest speculation sees one of our top defenders linked with a move to the Italian Serie A.

23-year-old centre-back Stephen Welsh is reportedly the target of interest from Italian top-flight clubs Hellas Verona and Bologna.  It is not the first time that the Academy graduate has been linked with a move to the continent, having previously been targeted by Udinese and Toulouse.



Welsh, who has made 52 appearances for Celtic since making his debut against Hamilton Academical in February 2020, finds himself at a crossroads in his career.  After making inroads into the side during the ill-fated 10-in-a-row season, Welsh has found himself increasingly marginalised with minutes becoming fewer and farther between.

The defender started the opening game of last season and scored Celtic’s opening league goal of the campaign against Aberdeen, but would go on to make a total of just 4 league appearances all season.  His last appearance came at the end of August as Moritz Jenz and then Yuki Kobayashi and Tomoki Iwata leapt above him in the queue behind Carter-Vickers and Starfelt.

With two years left on his contract the former Scotland U-21 captain still has time on his side if he has ambitions to make it at Celtic.  However, the opportunity to test himself in one of Europe’s top leagues may prove to be too good an opportunity to turn down.

Serie A clubs have targeted young Scottish talents at an increasing rate over the last few years with Aaron Hickey, Josh Doig, and Lewis Ferguson all being snapped by Italian sides.  Hickey’s form with Bologna won him international recognition and a £15 million transfer to the English Premier League, while both Doig and Ferguson have received rave reviews for the impact they have made at their respective clubs.

It would be natural for Stephen Welsh to look on with a degree of envy at the success his peers are enjoying and want some of that for himself.




Welsh has proven himself to be a competent defender during his outings in a Celtic jersey.  Reliable in the air, strong in the tackle, and capable of playing out from the back, Welsh has a lot of the attributes needed to be a leading defender.

The fact that the reported interest in him comes from Italy, a league well known for producing some of the finest defensive talents that the game has ever seen, suggests that others also see his potential.  Welsh is far from the finished product, but if someone – Celtic or another club – is able to polish off his rough edges, they could have an international class defender on their hands.

If that club is to be Celtic then a conversation with Brendan Rodgers is needed to assure the defender that he features in his plans and will get extra minutes this season.  As a ‘home grown’ player, his presence in the squad for Europe could be important and a promotion to the role of first deputy behind Carter-Vickers and Starfelt could allay any doubts he has over staying.

However, if no guarantee can be given over game time, then few would have any qualms if Welsh decided to take up an option to move to Italy.  It would be the best move for his career and earn Celtic a couple of million pounds in the process.

Stephen Welsh has a career-defining decision to make this summer, one that could see him leave his boyhood club in search of game time on the continent.

Kevin McCluskie

Leave a Reply