COMMENT By Will Butcher
Box-to-box midfielder Dale Stephens would be the perfect signing for Celtic as Brendan Rodgers looks to solve his central-midfield problem.
Celtic have been reportedly interested in a whole host of midfield stars, including West Brom’s James Morrison, Everton’s James McCarthy and most recently Portland Timbers’ USA international Darlington Nagbe.
With 27-year-old Stevens’ Brighton deal set to expire in the summer, the Daily Express have claimed that Rodgers will look to take advantage of his contract situation at the Amex Stadium.
Celtic have struggled to find a permanent partner for captain Scott Brown in the middle of the park, despite possessing a long list of players able to fill the void.
Israel international Nir Bitton began as Rodgers’ first-choice midfielder to line up alongside Brown, but a number of questionable performances led to him being dropped.
Former Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong replaced Bitton, but is still not considered good enough to be given a permanent role.
Stephens has been outstanding in Chris Hughton’s midfield, playing an integral part in the Seagulls’ hunt for Premier League promotion.
The former Chartlon Athletic star’s influential presence has seen Brighton fly up to second in the table.
His combative nature, ability to push his side forward with and without the ball and an accurate array of long and short passes has been a driving force behind their impressive start to the Championship season.
Possessing an everlasting work ethic, Stephens would supplement the slower Brown in midfield by applying pressure while Brown can dictate the tempo from a deeper position.
The overall effect would see Celtic look a lot stronger defensively, as they look to give themselves a competitive edge with potential Europa League football after Christmas.
In other Celtic transfer news, these three senior stars could be heading out the exit door at Parkhead in just under a month’s time.