Changes Aplenty At Celtic: Ledley In, Boruc Out & McGeady Next To Depart?
Since the appointment of manager Neil Lennon, it has been all about change at Celtic this summer. When the famous Scottish club open their 2010-11 SPL campaign away at Inverness Caley Thistle, the team will have a drastically different look than in previous years.
Polish keeper Artur Boruc had become a revered figure at Parkhead since his arrival from Legia Warsaw in the 2005. But he appears to be moving on to a new club, Fiorentina. It will be very difficult for Celtic supporters not to imagine Boruc between the sticks for the Bhoys as for so many seasons he made fantastic save after fantastic save.
The reported fee between Celtic and Fiorentina is said to be £1.7m, a measly fee considering the keeper's ability. But Boruc was entering the final year of his contract.
The signing of Welsh midfielder Joe Ledley on a free transfer looks to be a smart piece of business, as he looked like a terrific prospect in his early years with Cardiff City.
Ledley is known mostly for his performances leading up to the Bluebirds' appearance in the 2008 FA Cup Final. Many Premier League clubs tried to tempt him away over the years, but he remained with Cardiff until his contract expired after last season.
Celtic have beaten out such clubs for his signature, and Ledley could be a big hit in the SPL. They have also been able to acquire right-back Cha Du-Ri from Freiburg who impressed for South Korea duing the World Cup.
The changes continued as Stephen McManus has made his loan move to Middlesbrough permanent for £1.5m.
The former Celtic captain had been out of the club's plans since Tony Mowbray took over, and his former boss Gordon Strachan was eager to complete the transfer. But left back Charlie Mulgrew has re-joined the Bhoys on free transfer after his contract with Aberdeen ran out.
Aiden McGeady's potential departure from his boyhood club could be club's biggest move yet, as he could be on his way to Aston Villa for a rumored £8m.
The winger is determined to leave Parkhead and prove his abilities in the Premier League. Birmingham City has been mentioned as another potential target, but McGeady's former Celtic boss Martin O'Neill will most likely land the Irish international as a replacement for James Milner.
Celtic seem to have missed out on adding the Premier League experience of Jimmy Bullard and Sol Campbell.
Bullard's excessive wage demands turned Lennon toward other targets, and the midfielder may remain at Hull City. Campbell, meanwhile, is in high demand, with Sunderland leading the chase to sign the former Arsenal central defender.
One free transfer that could be joining the Hoops is Dutch defensive midfielder George Boateng. A veteran of many Premier League clubs, Boateng has been training with Celtic and could finalise a deal in the near future.
It will be interesting to see how Lennon will be able to spend the funds raised once the sales of McGeady, Boruc, and McManus are all completed. The manager is eager to make a prominent signing before the transfer window closes, but he is running out of options.
Lennon is desperate to land superstar striker Robbie Keane, but Aston Villa's probable sale of the coveted James Milner will give O'Neill the funds to secure the Irish captain's signature. Welsh forward Craig Bellamy was considered a potential target, but he looks to be on his way to Tottenham to join Harry Redknapp.
Stoke midfielder Liam Lawrence has expressed his desire to join Celtic, but could be used in a swap with Middlesbrough's Gary O'Neil. An interesting rumor has England international forward Emile Heskey being part of a McGeady exchange.
As the SPL kickoff nears, it will be interesting to see who Lennon will be able to recruit to Parkhead. So far he has been able to make some wise signings, but he still needs to recruit the sort of player who can bring belief to Celtic supporters that the club can overtake Rangers and bring the title back to Paradise.
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