Celtic fans can get real over Edouard and Tierney but 2 alternative reunions make more sense to me - Chris Sutton

Striker Odsonne Edouard enjoyed playing with Kieran Tierney at Celtic
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)


Comebacks have been all the rage at Celtic of late – with Brendan Rodgers picking up where he left off on the trophy trail.

It’s perhaps understandable that some supporters look at a few ex-players and think it would be nice to see the manager getting the band back together. You can understand the temptation. Fans look at the situations of the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong and Fraser Forster and reckon the stars are aligning to bring them home.

Maybe Celtic should also be thinking about bringing back Henrik Larsson. My old mate still looks in good nick, after all. There might be as much chance as seeing Henrik next season as the other ones as these guys returning isn’t straightforward. Don’t get me wrong, all of these players were successful players for Celtic and would no doubt enhance the current squad.

I just wouldn’t get the hopes up. You have to be realistic, as there are other forces at work, Edouard, for a start. There are suggestions Crystal Palace will let him go this summer but the question is for how much?

They will be looking to recuperate a large whack of the £20m they spent on him to get him from Celtic – and that’s even before you get to his wages. Edouard is likely to have tripled his salary when he went down there and he won’t be short of clubs willing to match those terms.

Let’s face it, that will put him way beyond Celtic’s means. Tierney is in exactly the same boat. I suspect he will be back at the club one day but unless it’s some kind of loan deal where Arsenal are feeling generous, then it’s not going to be any time soon.

Tierney has had some injury problems but he’s a proven performer at the very top level. He’s done the business in the Premier League and impressed on occasions in Spain last season with Real Sociedad. He’s another one on big money and he won’t be short of offers in England or abroad if Arsenal decide to let him go.

The other two are interesting. Armstrong is a free agent and that could balance out some of the issues over wages. But he is another one who won’t be short of offers this summer. He has been a very good player for Southampton and I’d expect a queue of clubs at the top end of the Championship who would love to have him on board.

Armstrong might be 32-years-old now, but he looks after himself and has plenty left in the tank. He would be a very good signing for Celtic, perhaps one that could fill the void left by Aaron Mooy last year. I’ve said before that we shouldn’t assume Matt O’Riley is going, but Celtic will still need another attacking midfielder.

Talks are ongoing with Paulo Bernardo and if they can land him from Benfica at a knockdown price, then it would be smart business. As for Armstrong, a ready made player would be an attractive prospect, especially on a free, but is he someone the club would push the boat out to land?

He’s not a player that fits the young developmental modal, but you do need to add experience at times – like we saw with Joe Hart.

Speaking of keepers, there’s always talk of Forster coming back for a third time. I know he loved his spells at Celtic and at 36-years-old, he might fancy following in the footsteps of the departing no.1 and finishing his career at the club. But, again, he’s still got a year left on a lucrative deal at Spurs and also will have options.

You wonder if he would fit into the Rodgers style of playing out from the back but there’s absolutely no question he has the presence and the stature to replace Hart. It’s an important role at the club and he would fit the bill. I just think it would be another tricky deal to do.

We know Celtic won’t deviate too far from their tried and tested model. People are the club can – rightly – point to the success it has brought them, with trophies piling up along with cash in the bank. Developing and selling players has worked for them. But there will need to be a slight change in tack if they are to make a real fist of the Champions League.

There is no issue with signing prospects – as that is the way it’s got to be at Celtic. But they do need to sign a higher level of prospect. You look at Edouard when he arrived for £9m.

It was a large investment for Celtic but it paid off and they doubled their money. That should be the target this summer.

Adam Idah fits that bill, of course, but his stock has risen since his loan move and his thumping header for the Republic of Ireland in their friendly win against Hungary the other day didn’t help much either. New Norwich City manager Johannes Hoff Thorup wants to check him out in pre-season and even if he doesn’t fancy the striker, he’s not going to be allowed to leave on the cheap no matter how much he wants to come back to Celtic.

This is going to be an important summer and there can be no mistakes of previous years if they want to be fully prepared for Europe. There might be a temptation to look to old favourites but Celtic need to be looking to the future rather than harking back to the past.