Carl Starfelt’s Celtic exit to Celta Vigo didn’t come as a surprise to fans, and it certainly didn’t came as a surprise to Celtic.
Fabrizio Romano had reported months back that there was interest in the Swede’s services and his partner Jacynta’s move to Sporting only ramped up those rumours.
A new centre-back was always needed and Maik Nawrocki joined the club a few weeks back to bolster that area of the side. But, with another high-quality starter gone, the pressure has increased for Celtic to recruit an additional central defender.
Many names have been linked with the club, some familiar and some unfamiliar. There have been four main targets linked with a move to Celtic Park in recent days but how likely are these rumours to materialise and will they be an adequate replacement for a man who won a trophy for every 17.4 games he played in a Celtic jersey.
Replacing one Swedish centre-back with another could be the most likely move for Celtic.
The 23-year-old Sweden cap currently plies his trade for Elfsborg who sit at the summit of the Swedish Allsvenskan.
Standing at 6′ 2″ he would seamlessly replace the aerial threat Starfelt brought to the team, which would also carry on the dynamic of Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers’ partnership that was so successful.
Of the current targets linked with the club, this move seems to have the most concrete chance of happening. Elfsborg’s sporting director Stefan Andreasson confirmed there was interest from Celtic, and Lagerbielke has also commented on the interest himself. When speaking to Swedish outlet Goteborgs-Posten he said, “It’s great when such a big club is interested. It’s pretty close.”
Starfelt’s exit seems to have led to talks advancing at a rapid rate and the move would help to continue the current transfer philosophy that has served Celtic to great effect in recent years.
If you pay close attention to Celtic’s transfer links, then this name will be very familiar. The 21-year-old Dutch defender currently plays for Dutch side Volendam after spells in the academies of Chelsea and Barcelona.
Playing for such illustrious academies, it would be easy for a young player to get comfortable. Mbuyamba’a ambition to succeed at a senior level, however, has led him to seek first-team football at the lower Eredivisie side.
It’s hard to shine at one of the lesser clubs in a division, especially as a defender, but the Dutchman’s displays at the heart of the Volendam defence have earned him potential suitors in England and Italy as well as the Scottish champions.
Linked with the club before the summer, and with an enquiry confirmed by Sky Sports’ Anthony Joseph, Mbuyamba to Celtic is a move that could have some legs.
At 6′ 5″ he could also replace the aerial threat brought to the club by Carl Starfelt.
Lagerbielke seems the more likely signing but the potential and striking similarities to the early days of one Virgil Van Dijk makes Mbuyamba an interesting player that Celtic should certainly keep tabs on if they opt to sign Lagerbielke instead.
If both names previously mentioned were unfamiliar, then this name will be well known.
Previously at the heart of a competitive Aberdeen defence, McKenna’s consistent performances led to constant links with Celtic when none other than Brendan Rodgers was the manager.
He got his move from the club eventually, after constant links away, and played a key part in Nottingham Forest’s promotion, deputising in their back five. There seems to be nothing concrete in the links with the Scotland-capped defender but fans may be too quick to turn their noses up at the links.
He has come on leaps and bounds since his Aberdeen days but his status as a Premier League player would mean he would cost a pretty penny. The other options are far more appealing and suit the transfer philosophy far more. Wouldn’t be a bad option, but certainly not the preferred one.