Neil Lennon stated recently that he’s targeting half-a-dozen signings and, with David Turnbull already in, we take a look at the other areas that Lennon might be trying to fill. We’ve lost Lustig, Benkovic, Boyata and Izzy from the back four, so we’ll start there.
Here’s a look at he five positions Lenny might be looking to fill.
Mika Lustig made the right-back position his own for the past seven-and-a-half years once Adam Mathews left and it’s a must now that Lenny brings in a bit of class to replace the Swede. We’ve been linked with Carl Jenkinson from Arsenal so far and it’s a must that we get someone in to replace Mika. Mathews himself has been linked with a return following his release from Sunderland. Anthony Ralston, for me, isn’t good enough to step up to be the number one choice just yet so keep an eye out as I’m sure we’ll see some movement there soon. Manny Perez has been recalled from loan, but surely he won’t come straight in as number one choice? I expect Ralston to go out on loan and Perez as back up.
With the huge loss of Benkovic and Boyata, this area is probably the most important area to get right this summer. Benkovic may have the opportunity of coming back on loan but we definitely need two solid centre-backs to come in over the summer. Ajer and Simunovic have been a pretty solid pairing when called upon. Scott McKenna from Aberdeen looks like he’s Lenny’s main target this pre-season but with Aberdeen wanting an unrealistic £10 million for the boy, then that might not happen. We’ve already bid £5 million for him, but that was swiftly knocked back. I’m pretty sure with those sort of figures being banded about that we can get a deal done for him soon.
With Izzy recently departed we’ve brought back Andrew Gutman from loan. This is probably an area that Lenny won’t try to fill but, with recent interest in Kieran Tierney, who knows? Arsenal have recently bid £15 million for him but would Celtic knock back £25 million for the fans favourite? I sincerely hope Celtic wouldn’t accept any sort of bid for KT but I said the same about Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk.
This might come as a bit of a surprise to a few, but I’m suggesting that we replace Craig Gordon, not Scott Bain. As much of a great performer Craig has been, he’s getting on a bit now. I think we could definitely look at getting in a solid back-up for when Craig retires, which will probably be at the end of this season. He’s been a great servant to us and, with the injury he had, it’s a miracle that he even played football again. He was a pundit during his injury and a cracking one at that so that’s possibly a route he’ll go down. Hopefully replacing Kris Boyd.
My last choice is a striker. Again, this might come as a bit of a surprise with Leigh Griffiths back now, but I just think that if Eddy got injured last season, we’d have been up the creek without a paddle. We’re a bit light up top and haven’t really replaced Dembele yet. Adebayor has been linked recently but, at 35-years-old, surely there has to be better out there available? Don’t get me wrong, the guy is quality, but we’d want a guy in that could push Eddy and Griff and I’m not sure Adebayor could anymore.
Those, for me, are the five signings that Lenny might be looking to make. Agree or disagree then let me know. I hope we indeed strengthen those areas, particularly the defensive areas which are a must. I’d watch the McKenna one with interest as it looks as though he’s Lenny’s number one target at the minute. Aberdeen need to get real with his valuation. I think he might cost us around the £7 million mark. I think £5 million is fair but we’ll have to pay top dollar to get him.
It’s going to be another action-packed summer. I just hope we can keep KT and Callum McGregor with the EPL sharks circling.