Three left-backs Celtic could sign to finally replace Bernabei

The January transfer window opened for business at the start of this month and Celtic are reportedly keen to make up to four new signings for their squad.

Alongside winger Nicolas Kuhn, Football Insider recently reported that Brendan Rodgers would also like to sign a striker, a goalkeeper, and a left-back to bolster his side ahead of the second half of the 2023/24 campaign.

The club’s desire to bring in another left-sided defender does not bode well for second-choice Alexandro Bernabei in that position, as it could spell the end of his career at Parkhead.

22/23 Premiership

Alexandro Bernabei (via Sofascore)





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Rodgers could brutally ditch the Argentine full-back, who has been behind Greg Taylor in the pecking order, by signing another left-back to take his place.

The Scottish Sun reported in December that clubs in Italy and Argentina have shown an interest in the 23-year-old dud, who has only played four times in the Scottish Premiership so far this season.

With this in mind, here are three left-backs who Celtic could sign – amid reported interest from the club – to allow them to part ways with Bernabei for good this month…

Owen Beck


Firstly, Liverpool youngster Owen Beck could be an excellent addition for the Hoops to bolster their options at the back for the second half of the campaign.

Dave OCKOP reported earlier this month that Celtic and Rangers are both keen on a deal to sign the Welsh defender, who spent the first half of the season on loan with Dundee in the Premiership.

His outstanding performances in Scotland suggest that he could be a fantastic signing for Rodgers and, potentially, an upgrade on Taylor in the number three position.

23/24 Premiership

Owen Beck

Greg Taylor







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Tackles per game



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As you can see in the table above, the Reds prodigy comes out on top in a number of key defensive and offensive metrics whilst playing at the same level for a club lower in the division.

Celtic have won 12 more Premiership matches than Dundee and scored 31 more goals. Yet, Beck has provided more quality in possession through chance creation and dribbles to push the team up the pitch in transition.

These statistics suggest that the Hoops target could improve the team and leave Taylor as a second-choice, which would then push Bernabei out of the door.

At the age of 21, Beck could also be a terrific long-term signing for the Bhoys if they are able to convince Liverpool to part ways with him on a permanent deal as the talented gem has plenty of time left ahead of him to develop and improve as he gains more experience.

Gijs Smal


A left-back who was linked with a possible switch to Parkhead ahead of the January transfer window was FC Twente’s Dutch maestro Gijs Smal.

Rangers have also been touted with an interest in the defender, who has been nicknamed ‘Smaldini’ in his homeland for his similarities to the legendary Paolo Maldini.

Twente wanted a whopping fee of £6m for the talented full-back at the end of last season but his contract is due to expire in the summer and he is reportedly set to run it down before assessing his options ahead of next term.

Celtic could swoop in to convince the Dutch side to part ways with him this month instead of losing the gem for nothing in the summer, as Smal’s form for his club during the 2022/23 campaign suggests that he has the potential to be a terrific signing.

Kai Watson – the founder of the Rangers Journal – analysed the 26-year-old ace and hailed him as being “aggressive” as a defender, which is backed up by his 3.2 tackles and interceptions per game in the Eredivisie last season – 1.1 more per match than Taylor has managed in the Premiership this term.

[FBCharts] Gijs Smal-1

The £2.2k-per-week whiz also assisted ten goals and created 16 ‘big chances’ in 34 league matches for Twente during the 2022/23 campaign.

Taylor, meanwhile, has assisted eight goals and created 13 ‘big chances’ in his last 77 league appearances for Celtic since the start of the 2021/22 season.

This suggests that Smal could come in as an upgrade on the Scotland international at both ends of the pitch if he can translate his form over to the Premiership, which is why Rodgers should consider a swoop for him this month.

Tiago Araujo


Finally, Estoril left-back Tiago Araujo is another option who has been linked with a potential transfer to join the Scottish giants before the end of the window.

Portuguese outlet O’Jogo recently reported that the Hoops are plotting a swoop to sign the promising young talent to bolster their squad in January.

The report added that the Liga Portugal club are not prepared to cash in on the talented gem for anything less than €4m (£3.4m) as Benfica still own half of his ‘pass’ and would be entitled to their cut.

At the age of 22, Araujo is a player with potential who could come in as a long-term project to eventually replace Taylor in the future, whilst allowing Celtic to ditch Bernabei now.

As you can see in the table above, the Estoril youngster could come in and offer more quality as a defender for Rodgers with his added physicality and ability to win possession back for the side.

With 0.7 key passes per game this season, Araujo is possibly the least-exciting option on this list in terms of what the £3.4m-rated ac offers on the ball but could be a solid option if Celtic want a back-up to Taylor who could develop and improve over time, rather than an immediate first-team quality signing like Smal or Beck.

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