COMMENT By Will Butcher
Celtic should do what it takes to sign Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly in January.
The 26-year-old is currently being played out of position on the left side of defence at Selhurst Park, and could be willing to jump ship as the Eagles look set to get drawn into a relegation dogfight.
With Rodgers keen to bolster his ranks this month after the signing of Kouassi Eboue from Russian side Krasnodar, here are three reasons why Martin Kelly would be a top Celtic signing.
Playing intermittently in Rodgers’ rotation system at Liverpool during the Celtic manager’s tenure at Anfield between 2012 and 2015, Kelly would be able to hit the ground running under the Northern Irishman as he will know what his manager’s expectations and demands are. Able to play anywhere across the back four, Kelly would provide vital cover for Rodgers who will know how to get the best out of the 26-year-old. Kelly’s best form of his career was in 2012 under Rodgers, which saw him make his full England debut against Norway as a late substitute.
With the Sweden international’s talks over a new contract ongoing, Kelly would come in as a like-for-like replacement for Mikael Lustig. The Celtic ace’s contract is up at the end of the season, with the Evening Times claiming yesterday that the Bhoys have been in long-term talks with the 30-year-old as they try to extend his current deal. However, it remains to be seen whether Lustig will sign a new deal and Kelly could be the man to offer the defensive versatility that Lustig does, at four years his junior.
Six months on contract
Like Lustig, Kelly has just six months on his current deal with no contract talks on the horizon. The former Huddersfield Town loanee could be available in a cut-price deal for the Hoops, as Palace look to avoid losing him on a free transfer at the end of the season. Bringing him to Parkhead on the cheap will suit Celtic chiefs, who are looking to spend their limited funds wisely. Proven in the top tier of the Premier League as a consistent performer, Kelly would be a bargain signing if he is brought to Glasgow.
In other Celtic transfer news, this Hoops attacker deal should be done by the end of the week.