Nir Bitton said his goodbyes to Celtic fans in the final matchday of the 2021/22 Premiership season, bringing the curtain down on a Parkhead career that had lasted almost a decade, having joined the club back in 2013. His decision to leave was a bit of a surprise, since it was believed that his current deal ran till the summer of 2023 but it looks like the Israeli international was after a new challenge.
It was a bittersweet feeling for the fans. It was sad to see him leave but at the same time, good to see that he was leaving on such a high note, having won the Premiership and the Scottish League Cup this season.
While Bitton had not been a regular starter this season, he was a valuable member of the squad, who was brought off the bench on a consistent basis to help see out games.
Thus, Celtic will have to find someone who can fill his boots. Chris Sutton though appears to believe that the club already have someone earmarked to play Bitton’s role. He wrote in his column in the Daily Record:
When it comes to replacing Bitton, it is, of course, worth noting that he was not a first pick. Not a regular starter. It’s an easier shift.
Looking at Ideguchi’s CV, he looks the one who is being earmarked to fulfil that task. The Japanese has not as yet had an opportunity to show anyone what he is made of at Parkhead.
He was just settling into the squad when suffering a bad injury on that rough night in Alloa and that made him a spectator for virtually the rest of the campaign, apart from a couple of short outings from the subs bench.
With a rest and a full pre-season under his belt, we’ll get a better idea soon enough.
Sutton believes that Celtic already have a replacement for Bitton in their squad
Yosuke Ideguchi arrived at Celtic in January from Gamba Osaka. It was an interesting deal though, because unlike Reo Hatate or Daizen Maeda, he had not enjoyed a great season in Japan.
Ideguchi had broken into the Japanese national team picture at a young age but a failed moved to Leeds United had resulted in stalling his development. He has a lot of unfulfilled potential though and has made a few very promising cameo appearances off the bench.
While Ideguchi has not made much of an impact since arriving, it has not had much of an impact on the team till now. He could prove to be vital next season though and one would hope that he can find his best form soon.
This article was originally posted here