Celtic’s squad is nowhere near good enough and if the board sells Simunovic from under Lennon, the manager would be “as well walking away” insists Chris Sutton.
The former striker, writing in his column in the Record, insists that if Lennon isn’t seriously backed in the transfer market it will be “nothing short of negligent”.
Sutton defended the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal from both the player and the club’s point of view, even if he felt he was still “undervalued”, but said that any member of the board who thinks the squad is “good right now is delusional”.
Sutton said: “If Lennon is not given serious money to do it then it will be nothing short of negligent and anyone on the board who thinks the squad has enough right now is delusional.
“There was a huge amount of waste in terms of signings under Rodgers and Lee Congerton.
“But you can’t have the manager working with one hand behind his back. There’s talk of interest in Jozo Simunovic but if Celtic accept £4m or £5m then Lennon would be as well walking away.”
There are those who will adopt the usual “wait and see” approach to the transfer window, but that works both ways.
If a European team comes in for the likes of Jozo, McGregor or Ntcham for half decent money, we could be left with a situation like last year where there was no time for a replacement.
The Celtic team that finished the season was mentally and physically exhausted at times. Lennon alluded to the former enough times himself.
Certain players were being asked to go to the well too many times. McGregor is one of those. He was the subject of interest from the EPL and now Lennon needs to get him “settled” again.
Since the season ended, we have seen 13 players leave the club. De Vries, Lustig, Boyata, Gamboa, Izaguirre, Mulumbu, Compper, Allan and now Tierney have moved onto pastures new. Benkovic, Toljan, Burke and Weah ended loan spells and were removed from the wage bill too.
Some of those players contributed nothing, but others played their part, while there were a good few first-choice picks in there as well.
Lennon might put on a diplomatic front in public, but he has been left high and dry going into the Champions League qualifiers.
If the job needed to be sold to him, then he surely could have imagined trying to qualify for the Champions League with his defensive foundation built on sand.
Yesterday, he said that he hoped to get “two or three” new faces in, but said players would have to leave first.
Are we really not going to get a right-back and a left-back because we can’t get a club to take Hendry or Kouassi?
Sutton continued: “Tierney has shown has ambition now the Celtic board must do the same”
Unfortunately for most of the people watching this unfold, it seems Celtic would rather sell the furniture than fix the roof.
If Neil Lennon manages to get Celtic through the qualifiers, he will have done it with little help from the board and Peter Lawwell.
They sold the manager short for these games with both the quality and quantity of players coming in. That’s not writing anyone off yet, but of the four who have signed, only two have been deemed ready and able to start matches, and one of those has evidently struggled.
The the only hope is that he’s not left to try to win a ninth title with the squad in its current shape, or worse.