Celtic transfer news: Five potential replacements for Kieran Tierney as defender closes in on Arsenal move

26 Jun

Kieran Tierney’s imminent move to Arsenal presents manager Neil Lennon with plenty of problems.

Not only is Tierney Celtic through and through and one of the best academy starlets to come though in recent years, the left-back is perhaps Lennon’s most important player.

Kieran Tierney is a target for Napoli and ArsenalAccording to the latest reports, manager Unai Emery is ‘confident’ of getting a deal done for the 22-year-old. And with Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti also keen, it seems inevitable the Scotland intentional will depart.

The announcement of Lennon’s return to Celtic Park was certainly mixed, to say the least. The Northern Irishman secured the clubs a treble treble, but many in Glasgow feel he is not the long-term solution.

To lose Tierney so soon into his second reign would be disastrous and force the 48-year-old into the transfer market.

But fear not Celtic fans, for there are plenty of alternatives out there. talkSPORT.com has identified five potential Tierney replacements.

Scroll down to see who could be headed to the Scottish champions to replace him.

Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozy)

Milad Mohammadi in action for Iran during the 2018 FIFA World Cup
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Having spent the last three seasons in the Russian top-flight, Mohammadi seems finally ready for a new challenge.

The 25-year-old earned worldwide acclaim last summer after his incredible failed acrobatic throw-in for Iran during a World Cup group stage game with Spain.

Although a left-back by trade, Mohammadi can also play on the right and first came to Celtic’s attention last summer.

Belgian sides Gent and Anderlecht are also interested in the full-back, who has is desperate to finally play European football.

Max Lowe (Derby County)

Scott Sinclair is already well aware of Lowe from last season
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According to the Daily Express, Celtic are one of a number of clubs interested in the 22-year-old from Derby.

The Scottish title winners have held talks with the Championship side, with Aberdeen keen to make his loan deal from last season permanent and Old Firm rivals Rangers also keen.

However, any potential deal depends on Frank Lampard’s situation at Pride Park, with the former England international reportedly set to take the Chelsea job.

Lowe managed to score twice and also record two assists in the Premiership last season and would fit into Celtic’s attacking philosophy.

Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock)

Greg Taylor would perhaps be the most cost-effective option for Celtic
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Another domestic rival who impressed against Celtic last season, Taylor would fit into the Bhoys’ system seamlessly.

The 21-year-old earned a call-up to the Scotland squad for his Premiership performances and put in a respectable showing against the likes of Belgium superstars Eden Hazard and Yannick Carrasco.

An energetic full-back who is tenacious in the tackle and loves to drive forward, the Killie defender has naturally earned comparisons with Andy Robertson.

The Scottish Sun claim Celtic have an interest, but may well have to beat Rangers and Hull City to his signature.

Boli Bloingoli-Mbombo (Rapid Vienna)

Boli Bolingoli Mbombo is a highly-rated 23-year-old
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The cousin of Romelu Lukaku, Mbombo is an extremely highly-rated left-back who is currently plying his trade in Austria.

The 23-year-old is looking to leave Rapid Vienna this summer after four years and could be available for as little as £3million.

Rapid’s sporting director Zoran Barisic told the Scottish Sun it is only a matter of time before the Austrian outfit receive bids for in-demand left-back.

“There have been enquiries for Boli but no offers so far. But we know there will be concrete offers soon,” he said.

Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United)

Cresswell could leave the East End in search of a new challenge
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While Cresswell has not been linked with a move north of the border, this is a move which would make sense.

The other targets on this list are undoubtedly fantastic players, but lack the pedigree or experience to necessarily hit the ground running at a big club like Celtic.

After consistently good seasons in the Premier League with West Ham, Cresswell is a fully-fledged England international and has even worn the armband for the Hammers.

Arthur Masuaku’s return to form plus a nagging run of injuries means the 29-year-old is no longer first choice at the London Stadium.

His delivery from set-pieces is still wicked, while he is a solid defender as well.

Rapid Vienna 1-0 Rangers: Agony for Scottish Premiership side as late goal sends Steven Gerrard’s men crashing out of Europe

13 Dec

Rangers were knocked out of the Europa League after suffering a 1-0 defeat away to Rapid Vienna.

With Group G finely balanced, Steven Gerrard’s men knew they had to win to secure them at least second place in the group.

Rangers showed fight, but it was not enough to see them through

However, with just six minutes remaining, Dejan Ljubicic played a neat one-two on the edge of the box before tucking the ball past Allan McGregor.

Although Steven Gerrard’s men lost just twice throughout the group stages, it is Rapid Vienna and Villarreal who will progress to the knockout phase.

Connor Goldson almost gave Rangers their dream start, only to see his header come crashing back off the bar in the 21st minute.

The defender met James Tavernier’s free-kick from just six yards out, but could only divert it onto the frame of the goal.

Chances were at a premium for both sides and it was the hosts who were the more clinical – meaning it was agony for the Glasgow side.

Moment of the match

Goldson’s effort bouncing off the bar will haunt Rangers fans for quite some time.

The defender rose so well after a deliciously whipped in cross from James Tavernier on the right-hand side.

However, the visitors failed to create any clear cut chances throughout the rest of the game and were made to rue missing their big moment.

Final Group Table

Rapid Vienna vs Rangers: Europa League match preview, team news and confirmed line-ups

13 Dec

Rangers travel to Austria knowing they must beat Rapid Vienna to reach the last 32 of the Europa League.

Group G hangs in the balance with all four teams able to qualify as they head into the final matchday.

James Tavernier celebrates netting a penalty against Rapid Vienna during the 3-1 win in October

Villarreal and Rapid Vienna, both on seven points, currently occupy the top two spots, with Rangers and Spartak Moscow on six and five respectively.

The Gers could even top the group if they win and Villarreal fail to beat Spartak Moscow.

What the managers are saying

Dietmar Kuhbauer (Rapid Vienna): “We have the opportunity to go through, which we would not have expected in the draw, and we have it in our own hands – there is nothing better than to prepare for such a game and then reach the goal.”

Steven Gerrard expects a tough game in Vienna

Steven Gerrard (Rangers): “We believe Rapid will come out and attack us and we’re expecting a positive performance with a vocal fanbase behind them.

“We don’t expect them to sit deep and contain and look to spoil like (we’ve faced) in the last two matches. This game will suit us.”

Team news

Rangers have made seven changes to their starting XI which drew with Dundee on Sunday

Ross McCrorie starts, while Alfredo Morelos returns to the team.

Long-term absentees Lee Wallace, Jamie Murphy and Graham Dorrans remain sidelined through injury.

Ryan Kent is not fit enough to feature

The hosts are without defenders Mario Sonnleitner and Marvin Potzmann, midfielder Tamas Szanto and striker Andrija Pavlovic.

Confirmed line-ups

Rapid Vienna: Strebinger, Muldur, Barac, Bolinholi, Schwab, Berisha, Murg, Martic, Hofmann, Auer, Ivan. Subs: Knoflach, Schobesberger, Dibon, Thurnwald, Knasmullner, Alar, Ljubicic.

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, McAuley, Barisic, McCrorie, Jack, Coulibaly, Arfield, Middleton, Morelos. Subs: Robby McCrorie, Flanagan, Halliday, Katic, Grezda, Worrall, Lafferty.

Group G table

Rangers news: Rapid Vienna hire priest to help squad ahead of Europa League showdown

7 Dec

Rapid Vienna have hired a club priest a week before their Europa League showdown with Rangers.

Steven Gerrard’s men will travel to Austria knowing a victory in the capital will take them to the knockout stages.

Rangers beat Rapid Vienna at Ibrox earlier in the season

In order to lead them through to the promised land, the club have hired a priest to offer divine inspiration.

Father Christoph Pelczar is a football-mad Polish priest who recently published a book all about his love of God and football, titled Glaube. Liebe. Rapid (Belief, Love, Rapid).

The book details his conversations with squad members and is available for a whopping £17.50.

Father Pelczar recently arranged for the players to have a private audience with the Pope.

Steven Gerrard will be hoping the appointment does not stop his side from progressing

He said: “Rapid can absolutely be a religion. There are similar rituals of hymns, songs and advents.

“Religion has to offer solutions. There is a search for something greater, and it is not blasphemy for me to say so.”

One of the players helped by the clergyman is midfielder Dejan Ljubicic, who was caught drunkenly hurling beer bottles at a mosque last December.

The 21-year-old said: “Father Christoph gave me the strength to rise up again. I was on the floor after making a huge mistake.

“He gave me the power to prove myself, and show that I am a good person.”

Rangers vs Rapid Wien: Europa League fixture preview and confirmed team news

3 Oct

Rapid Wien will be knocked off top spot of their Europa League group if Rangers secure a home win over the Austrains on Thursday evening.

The Gers began their European campaign with a super 2-2 draw against Villarreal, and they take on current Group G leaders Rapid with the Austrian side in crisis.

Rapid beat Spartak Moscow in their own Europa League opener, but since then manager Goran Djuricin has been sacked with the club sitting in the bottom half of the Austrian Bundesliga; they’ve won just two of their nine matches so far, losing four.

Rangers followed up their draw in Spain by thrashing St Johnstone and Ayr, though they head into Thursday’s clash on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat at Livingston, which kept Steven Gerrard’s side eight points off top spot in the Scottish Premiership.

What the managers are saying

Steven Gerrard (Rangers): “We expect a very strong Rapid team having just appointed a new manager. It is a difficult one to judge as the new manager as only had one training session so we are unsure what to expect. We respect this team but we are looking for a win tomorrow. This is a level that we all want to be involved in and to show Rapid how good a team we are at home.”

Dietmar Kuhbauer (Rapid Wien): “For me, of course, it’s a huge story to be at the Ibrox Stadium for my first match in charge. However, you can not expect any miracles right now, so let us get to know our players first.”

Kuhbauer was appointed Rapid manager earlier this week

Team news

Rangers will be without Lee Wallace, as well as long-term absentee Jamie Murphy. Ryan Jack is a doubt as he recovers from a calf injury. Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo and Philipp Schobesberger will miss out for the visitors.

Confirmed line-ups

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Flanagan, Arfield, Coulibaly, Ejaria, Kent, Morelos, Candeias.

Subs: Foderingham, Halliday, Katic, Barisic, Grezda, Lafferty, Middleton.

Rapid Vienna: Strebinger, Muldur, Barac, Sonnleitner, Potzmann, Schwab, Ivan, Murg, Ljubicic, Berisha, Pavlovic.

Subs: Knoflach, Bolingoli Mbombo, Martic, Dibon, Auer, Knasmullner, Alar.