Will These Celtic Players Follow Rogers’ Exit?

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Brendan Rodgers’ departure from Celtic to Leicester was as swift as it was unexpected.

Barely 48 hours after the Foxes had sacked Claude Puel following a disastrous 4-1 defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Northern Irishman was announced as the new manager at the King Power Stadium.

It was a move that left Hoops fans feeling betrayed, with the expectation that the former Liverpool boss would have at least remained in post until the summer, at which point he could have achieved legendary status by scooping a treble treble of domestic trophies.

With Rodgers having moved on, there is a fear around Glasgow’s east end that he could return to raid the club for some of its top talent.

Bearing that in mind, here are five players who are likely to be linked with a move following their former boss south.

 

James Forrest (£1.07)

For so long the most frustrating of wingers, with a habit of running down dead ends of delivering crosses to no-one, the 27-year-old matured under Brendan Rodgers to become perhaps Celtic’s star player over the course of the 2018-19 season.

No longer does the forward seem to be burdened with an uncanny ability to make nothing out of something, but instead has posted remarkable numbers this season, with 13 goals and 18 assists.

Additionally, the academy product has been a player for clutch situations, with seven assists and two goals in 14 European outings this term, setting up crucial strikes against Leipzig and Rosenborg in the Europa League.

Rodgers is a coach who has extracted the best of Forrest, and if he is ever going to move to the Premier League, now is the time he will have to do it.

With a reported transfer value of £10 million, he could prove a shrewd signing.

 

Callum McGregor (£0.98)

Another academy product that Rodgers managed to get the best out of during his time at Celtic Park, Callum McGregor is the type of technically sound player that the ex-Liverpool boss loves.

His mantra is centred around players who are comfortable in possession and selfless out of it, and the 25-year-old represents both of these things.

McGregor is a Swiss army knife of a player and has been utilised in countless roles over his career, though Rodgers seems to have brought the best out of him in a deep-lying midfield position, from which he can dictate the tempo of the game and even support the attack on occasion.

Indeed, so highly was he thought of by the Leicester boss, he was even handed the captain’s armband for a fixture against Dundee three days before Christmas.

He has made 10 assists and has scored six goals this season and is another who could look to cut his teeth in England’s top flight imminently.

 

Olivier Ntcham (£0.76)

Brendan Rodgers made the France Under-21 international Celtic’s biggest signing in the best part of a decade when he swooped to take him to Parkhead from Manchester City in the summer of 2017 for £4.5 million.

Now 23, he is still known by his reputation but there is a feeling that he has failed to live up to his billing, while regular periods out through injury have hampered his progress further.

Indeed, it is doubtful that when Rodgers left Celtic, he saw Ntcham as a starting player in his side, with McGregor and Scott Brown his favoured combination in the heart of the field.

While Ntcham would be easier to lure away from the Scottish champions than any of their academy products, he is also less desirable.

 

Kieran Tierney (£1.74)

He may only be 21, but Kieran Tierney has already achieved iconic status at Celtic Park, not only for the quality he has shown on the field but because of his unflinching loyalty to the club.

Versatile enough to be used across all the defensive positions, the Scotland international has been a long-time target for some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs.

It is logical, then, that Rodgers would want the promising youngster to follow him down to the Premier League.

Tierney’s fierce loyalty to Celtic could well prove a barrier to any deal. A lifelong supporter of the club, the rumour mill suggests that he has been left as hurt as the fans in the terraces over the nature of the manager’s departure.

He will tough for any side to lure away from Parkhead, and after Rodgers’ perceived slight upon the club, that includes the Foxes.

Reports are also linking the left-back to Arsenal may, counterintuitively, be a more he is likelier to make.

 

Tim Weah (£2.65)

Strictly speaking, Tim Weah is not a Celtic player as he is only at the Parkhead club on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, but the exciting young forward is someone that Rodgers admires greatly.

The Hoops were so enamoured by the forward that they sent scouts to watch him during his pre-season training camps and were left disappointed when PSG elected to keep hold of him in August.

When it became clear that he was open to a January move, they pounced, with the 19-year-old supplementing a forward line that also contains Oliver Burke (£0.89) and Odsonne Edouard (£1.40), whose campaign has been troubled by injuries.

Although he has been used largely as an impact player off the bench, he has shown ample to suggest he could play a similar role with the Foxes, should there be another opportunity to take him on a temporary deal in the summer.

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About Author

A football journalist specialising in the French and Scottish game, Robin has been writing professionally for over a decade. His career highlights include attending World Cups in Brazil and Russia, and Euro 2016 in France.

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