'Edouard will be gone' - Chris Sutton delivers in-depth transfer assessment of Celtic squad
The Hoops are currently 19 points behind Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership table after having lost last weekend’s Old Firm at Ibrox, and will go into the second half of the season knowing they have a mountain to climb if they are to secure a historic 10th consecutive league title.
With so much at stake, there has been a heightened sense of scrutiny surrounding Neil Lennon and his squad in recent months, with a number of key assets linked with exits and several others failing to display the kind of form that has brought the club so much success in previous campaigns.
Reflecting on the Bhoys’ recent struggles in a column for the Daily Record, Sutton delivered a detailed assessment for the current Parkhead roster, and suggested that a couple of big names could be destined for an exit in the near future.
“You look at players and try to work out what Celtic need”, the pundit said.
"That’s the sort of decisions you can only take when you know who really wants to stay.
“Using an example, if I look at the backline, I’d say Christopher Jullien is worthy of being part of a new set-up and I’d like to have Kristoffer Ajer beside him.
“But when you don’t know if the Norwegian is going to want to leave if big offers are going to be made for him, then I can’t say if another centre-back is needed or not. Celtic need answers from Ajer now, although I suspect they may already have them.
“Keeping Diego Laxalt would be on the mind for left-back if a deal can be done with AC Milan, but a right-back is required. Jeremie Frimpong has bags of potential, but he’s not an out-and-out defender, as shown at Ibrox.
“You’d want future skipper Callum McGregor at the heart of things and nothing we’ve seen in the past six weeks would suggest that Soro or David Turnbull aren’t worthy of places.
“James Forrest’s true value to this squad has only really become evident to some people in his long absence. He’s a gem and a must, as opposed to Mohamed Elyounoussi who hasn’t done enough thus far to warrant shelling out a big fee.”
Sutton also went on to pick out a couple of key positions that his old club must look at strengthening in the coming months.
He said: “Odsonne Edouard will be gone, so strikers are required. I’d keep Leigh Griffiths and make sure he worked every day of the summer to be at peak for the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign because, when fit, he’s a brilliant finisher.
“It goes without saying I believe a keeper is needed. Now, never mind the summer.
“Ryan Christie hasn’t signed a contract extension yet. Like Ajer, Celtic need to know his intentions to know whether they need to add in his department.”