By Danny Wright
Former Celtic defender Alan Stubbs has admitted that he has been left concerned about Brendan Rodgers’ defence after Rivaldo Coetzee’s move to Parkhead fell through last week.
The South Africa international was on the verge of signing for the Hoops from Ajax Cape Town, but the Scottish champions pulled the plug on the deal after the centre-back failed a medical due to an issue with his right foot.
Rodgers’ backline has been left depleted in recent fixtures with Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata both sidelined through injury, meaning that youngster Kristoffer Ajer and midfielder Nir Bitton have both been called upon to play in the back four.
Stubbs has admitted that it may now be hard for Celtic to bring in another centre-back at this late stage of the transfer window, and that could be a serious issue in their Champions League campaign.
“The injuries to key defenders are giving Celtic cause for concern but getting through to the Champions League is very important to the club,” said Stubbs, as quoted by the Daily Record.
He added: “There has been a big spanner put in the works with the Coetzee deal falling through. Celtic will have thought that deal was done and dusted and now suddenly they are back to the drawing board because of the medical.
“The club need a new defender to come in who is going to be able to compete at Champions League level because they gave themselves and their supporters some hairy moments in the second leg in Astana.
“The transfer window is just two days away from closing and everybody knows Celtic are needing a new centre-back.”
Rodgers has previously confirmed that Coetzee was due to join the Glaswegians this summer but last week saw Ajax CT announce that the 20-year-old had failed his medical in what was a major, unwanted, transfer development for the Hoops.
However things seem to now be looking positive after Patrick Roberts completed his return to Parkhead on another loan deal from Manchester City on Monday.
In other Celtic news, Chris Sutton has reacted to the news of Roberts’ return.