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Most leagues in Europe shut their door on player transfers on 5th October and the Scottish Premiership was no different. Both Celtic and Rangers were active on deadline day, doing whatever they felt was necessary to strengthen their teams for the 2020-21 season.
On the other hand, there was a single incoming at Celtic Park on the day, with Uruguayan international Diego Laxalt arriving through the door, on loan from AC Milan.
With the signing of 27-year-old, manager Neil Lennon proposes to address one of his long-standing problems at the left-back position since the departure of Boli Bolingoli for Istanbul Basaksehir on a season-long loan.
Laxalt was hopefully the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle that the manager had been looking to solve over the course of the whole summer.
So, without further ado, let us assess Celtic’s signings over the course of the extended summer transfer window.
Vasilis Barkas (From AEK Athens for £5m)
Celtic’s long-serving goalkeeper Craig Gordon decided to bid adieu to the club at the end of the 2019-20 season, in spite of being offered a new deal. With Fraser Forster returning to Southampton following his loan spell, the Bhoys were left short of options in the goalkeeping position and needed someone to step in.
And so, after a couple of years of scouting, they went on to sign Greek international Vasilis Barkas from AEK Athens in a £5m deal, with the custodian putting pen-to-paper to a four-year contract.
The 26-year-old has so far proved himself worthy of the price the Hoops paid for him, as he has put in a string of impressive performances and managing as many as eight clean sheets in 12 appearances.
Albian Ajeti (From West Ham for £4.5m)
Amidst uncertainty regarding the future of star striker Odsonne Edouard, the Bhoys went into the transfer market looking for a striker and roped in out-of-favour West Ham star Albian Ajeti for a reported fee of £4.5m.
The move has so far turned out to be a good one, with the 23-year-old scoring five goals in nine matches for the defending champions. Neil Lennon, who arguably knows the game better than anyone else in Scotland, must have seen something in the player, after all, to immediately hand him the number ten shirt.
With Edouard’s future being sorted as of now, Celtic fans can expect big things from their two young strikers over the course of an all-important season wherein they will be looking to clinch their tenth league title in-a-row.
Shane Duffy (From Brighton on loan)
Neil Lennon went looking for a leader at the back and he got one when 28-year-old Shane Duffy crossed border to join them on a season-long loan deal.
The Northern Ireland international in an interview said that he had snubbed offers from Premier League clubs in favour of playing for Celtic.
“Playing for Celtic is something I’ve wanted to do my whole career. I wanted to come here when I was at a good age where I can be successful.”
Duffy had found his chances limited at Brighton last season and a move away from the club was always on the cards.
He has been on the pitch for 630 minutes in Celtic colours so far, going on to score two goals, besides providing stability in the back.
Mohamed Elyounoussi (From Southamton on loan)
The 26-year-old Norwegian international spent the last season at Celtic Park and impressed everyone with his performances so much so that the Scottish champions negotiated yet another loan deal for him with Southampton.
Post the return, Mohamed Elyounoussi said that the messages he had received from the Celtic fans helped him make up his mind.
“Since the league stopped, I got a lot of positive messages from fans. They told me what they thought about me, and for me to take another year, and that made the choice even easier. It’s hard to say no when you get so many messages and feedback – love from the fans, and obviously I will try to give something back.”
The Southampton loanee man has so far featured in 12 games in all competitions for Celtic this season, scoring four goals and setting up three more for his teammates
David Turnbull (From Motherwell for £3.25m)
The 21-year-old saw his dream move to Celtic breaking down last year after he picked up an injury. Opportunity knocked at his door yet again this year and the youngster was wise enough to grasp it.
Celtic paid Motherwell a fee in the region of £3.25m to conclude the deal, with the youngster later revealing that he knew that a chance to live his dream would come again. He said:
“I was confident a chance like this could come around again, especially when I was back training. After all of the horrible stuff, I had it in my head that this was my aim and my goal and I knew nothing was going to change footballing ability-wise.”
The youngster has so far featured in four league games for the Bhoys, setting up one goal for his team-mates. This could well be just the start of more good things to come from him.
Diego Laxalt (From AC Milan on loan)
The Uruguayan’s loan move was the final piece of business concluded by the champions before the transfer window closed on Monday. Diego Laxalt comes with plenty of experience, having represented clubs across Italy.
Celtic can expect big things from the 27-year-old over the course of his loan spell in Scotland. Laxalt said after moving to Celtic,
“I’m going to try to do my best, no matter the opposition, whether that’s Milan or whoever. My heart is now with Celtic.”
However, due to the ongoing international break, Laxalt will have to wait for his chance to make his Celtic debut.
Neil Lennon already has a title-winning squad at his disposal and he never needed a complete overhaul. The few areas that required attention have been taken care of and the fans can expect an unprecedented 10th Scottish Premiership triumph on the trot.