Ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton believes Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou should do everything possible to keep Reo Hatate at the club.
Postecoglou has admitted that some of the Hoops’ best players could be poached this summer, but Sutton hopes that the Japanese international is not one of those heading towards the exit door:
“It will be interesting in terms of who comes and goes. I think Reo Hatate is irreplaceable, in the way Celtic play. They won’t have the to get players up to speed as the Champions League still comes around pretty quickly.”
“There are certain players who Celtic just can’t do without and they really need to hang on to if they are to match the ambition of the supporters, and that’s to give themselves the best possible chance of competing in the Champions League. Even with the players they have it will be difficult, but they have to give themselves the best chance.”
“I know it’s the model, there is a responsibility to pick and choose when the time is right to sell. But we saw how difficult Europe was last season and we’ve seen the development and progression in these players. Celtic will need to hold on to their big guns and have them ready to be firing to have the best possible chance.”
Will Celtic be able to keep hold of Hatate?
Every player has his price, particularly at Scottish clubs, who do have to work within certain budget restraints, but you can’t see Hatate being sold for anything other than a club record.
As Sutton says, the midfielder is integral in how the team plays and his departure would be a big blow to Celtic’s chances of progressing further in Europe next season.
Having technical players like Hatate, who can make accurate passes under pressure, and also produce the goods in the final third, is a rare combination and keeping him at Parkhead has to be the top priority.