Celtic could soon be approaching a transition period. While the club is on the way to winning the ninth Premiership title in a row, the upcoming summer transfer window could be key in deciding their future endeavours. With Scott Brown not getting any younger with each passing day and his impact at Parkhead can’t be played down at all.
The veteran brings the spice and venom to midfield that the side lacks without him. He has the experience and fire about him that makes him a much-loved figure at Parkhead. Soon enough, he could be gone and the Hoops will miss that sort of a midfielder in the heart of the park.
Keeping that in mind, retaining Callum McGregor becomes a priority for Celtic. It is fair to say that McGregor isn’t the Brown-type midfielder. He’s a bit more intent on going forward rather than sitting deeper. But he is the only midfielder in the side who assures that he’ll do something on a consistent basis.
This season, the Scotland international has a tally of 11 goals and ten assists in all competitions. Still 26, McGregor has racked up seven goals and just as many assists in the Premiership and has done that while starting every single game so far.
A lot of his numbers have come in the second half of the campaign. Since the meeting against St. Mirren on Boxing Day, the Scot has played ten games and has contributed to as many as 11 goals for the Neil Lennon side. For a central midfielder to do that is a very good achievement in itself.
What makes it even more special is how he’s played the most number of minutes in the side- 4116. He has ethic about himself that catches up with the Hoops faithful like Brown’s tenacity and fire does. Even when McGregor isn’t scoring or assisting, he puts in a real shift.
Tom Rogic’s injury issues have carried on till this season, while Olivier Ntcham has had some poor games- particularly the recent Europa League game against Copenhagen. Ryan Christie has racked up very good numbers but he is more of an attacking midfielder. Ismaila Soro has arrived from Bnei Yehuda, but the Ivorian is yet to play first-team football.
That just shows that McGregor, bar the ageing Brown, has been the only constant in midfield. It can be a case of over-reliance from Lennon due to lack of proper central midfield options. But McGregor has come up with goals and assists as the season has worn on. That’s remarkable for someone who’s played a lot.
Lennon recently had high praise for McGregor and his traits of being a complete package. He said: “Callum’s just a metronome. He’s so consistent with his passing, his reading of the game, his play. He’s got goals this season as well.”
Lennon has been using a 3-5-2 a lot of times in recent weeks to add an extra man in midfield and overrun the opposition. That has seen one of Ntcham or Christie drop into the midfield three. But McGregor has still been a constant, as he goes on about plodding and creating goals.
The 26-year-old was recently linked with a move to Leicester City, who have former boss Brendan Rodgers in charge. But losing McGregor to any club, let alone the Foxes, would be disastrous for the Hoops.