Done Deal: Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers reveled his January transfer target who…

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has looked settled since returning to Glasgow in the summer and now reportedly has a talented youngster in his sights as the January window approaches.

Celtic’s title hunt and January plans…

Celtic are in a commanding position at the top of the Scottish Premiership table and have the chance to extend their lead at the summit of the division to 11 points on Saturday, where they will take on Motherwell at Parkhead in their first match back after the international break concluded.

Of course, rivals Rangers will have two games in hand by the time Saturday’s round of Scottish top-flight matches conclude; however, building an advantage over their arch-rivals will enable the Hoops to heap added pressure on Phillipe Clement’s side in the hunt for the title.

Despite the ferocious nature of the festive period, Rodgers will also have one eye on January as he looks to bolster his squad depth. As cited by The Daily Record, the 50-year-old commented on his side’s plans for the mid-season window, stating:

Bologna striker Sydney van Hooijdonk is someone the Bhoys have reportedly enquired about as they search for another striker. Meanwhile, Motherwell sensation Lennon Miller has also been mentioned as a young face who could come in to add another dynamic to Rodgers’ packed engine room.

Celtic’s next five fixtures – all competitions
Competition Opponent Venue
Scottish Premiership Motherwell (H) Celtic Park
Champions League Lazio (A) Stadio Olimpico
Scottish Premiership St Johnstone (A) McDiarmid Park
Scottish Premiership Hibernian (H) Celtic Park
Scottish Premiership Kilmarnock (A) Rugby Park

Keeping the theme of prodigious talent that could end up at Celtic, a new report has indicated that the Scottish champions are now embroiled in a tussle with several other high-profile clubs to secure the services of a rising star.

Celtic scout Sam Curtis

Celtic have recently scouted St Patrick’s Athletic defender Sam Curtis and are among a clutch of clubs keen to land the FAI Cup winner once the January window opens, as per a report from 90min.

Labelled “unbelievable” by teammate Tom Grivosti, Curtis is also being courted by Premier League heavyweights Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. At the same time, Hull City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough are also monitoring his situation.

Celtic-kyogo-champions-league-atletico-madrid

Curtis, who plays predominantly as a right-back but can also cover in central defence, has made 39 appearances in all competitions during 2023, registering three goals and three assists in the process (Curtis statistics – Transfermarkt).

Cited by The Irish Independent, Chelsea captain Reece James actually reached out to the 17-year-old to offer advice if he ever needed some tricks of the trade from an elite professional; however, the Navan-born gem is refusing to get carried away despite the England international’s kind words. He stated in a recent interview:

“I was delighted, it was brilliant. I am basing my game around him, but as I said, I want to be the first Sam Curtis, not the next Reece James, but it’s nice to have him there. I’m just happy he reached out. He is an inspiration to me. I’m very privileged and very blessed.”

With Celtic placing the defender on their radar, it may do Curtis no harm in his quest to further his career by having someone like James endorse his talents, though whether he ends up in Glasgow any time soon remains to be seen.

Rangers have been near-perfect since the arrival of Philippe Clement, who took over a side fresh from a worrying start to the season under Michael Beale. The former Queens Park Rangers boss just could not get the Gers going and faced the sack as a result. Now under Clement’s guidance, Rangers are unbeaten in their last seven games, and though still behind in the Scottish Premiership title race, are on course to restore some pride to their campaign.

If they want to reach what currently seem like unthinkable heights this season, though, then they may need to make some January changes. And that could include the exit of one particular out-of-favour player.

Rangers transfer news

During the summer transfer window, Rangers failed to find the right replacements for the likes of Ryan Kent, Glen Kamara and Alfredo Morelos and have paid the price ever since. Arrivals such as Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers have struggled to really make their mark so far, giving Clement plenty to think about when the January transfer window swings open. Meanwhile, those who the new manager does not see as part of his plans may well find themselves heading for the exit door, whether by their choice or Clement’s.

Among those players could be Ridvan Yilmaz. According to Turkish outlet Sport Digitale, Yilmaz is weighing up a January exit away from Rangers and his agent will hold a talk with Clement in the coming days regarding his future. This comes after the left-back’s struggle for game time this season, making just four starts in 12 Scottish Premiership games. Thanks to Beale’s decisions to exclude Yilmaz from Rangers’ Europa League squad too, Clement is unable to select the Turkish full-back for the competition.

The winter window could reportedly see Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray all return for Yilmaz’s signature following their failure to lure the Rangers man away from Ibrox in the summer. The Gers were keen to keep hold of their left-back then, but it remains to be seen whether that’s still the case in January.

Arriving at Rangers in the summer of 2022 in a deal worth £5m, Yilmaz has since struggled to make an impact in the Scottish Premiership and has failed to take the starting spot from Borna Barisic at left-back. That said, the out-of-favour full-back may just need to have some patience.

He’s still only 22-years-old and has plenty to learn under the guidance of Clement. Barisic, meanwhile, is now 31 and not getting any younger, meaning that the left-back spot should be there for the taking sooner rather than later.

When in form, Yilmaz is a player who has impressed those in Scotland in the past, including Joshua Barrie, who posted on X: “Brilliant play from Ridvan Yilmaz, that’s the variation of options he gives you! Runs the full length of the Livingston half driving beyond two men before finishing from range. That’s some goal from your left back.”

So, Yilmaz clearly still has the potential to become the main man down the left-hand side for Clement. It just remains to be seen whether or not he stays put amid a lack of minutes at Ibrox so far this season.

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