Celtic manager Ronny Deila has a number of difficult decisions to make over the course of the summer, as he looks to assemble the best possible squad at Parkhead to mount a serious challenge for success on all fronts next year.
Celtic have the resources to be competitive against their domestic rivals in the transfer market and if the club qualifies for the Champions League, that will provide an extra financial boost, which will allow the club to be a little more ambitious in terms of targets.
However, it’s also important that he doesn’t overlook the players already contracted to the club who could make a difference in his side next season. One such player who creates a stick or twist dilemma for Deila is young midfielder Liam Henderson.
Henderson has done everything asked of him during a loan spell with Norwegian team Rosenborg. He’s stayed fit, he’s featured for the high profile side and when he has seen game time, he’s quite often made the difference.
He’s someone that could definitely be a useful player in Deila’s squad next season, giving him a different option to the central midfield choices he already has in the likes of Scott Brown, Nir Bitton, Stefan Johansen and others.
The 19-year-old is someone he has to watch closely in pre-season to be able to judge up close how he has changed, how he has developed and what strengths he can offer to his team in a Celtic shirt next season.
He can’t do that without dangling the carrot of an immediate role in the first team by including Henderson in the full pre-season schedule, challenging the player to show why he’s a better option than any other Deila can choose from.
The alternative is another loan spell, which will allow him to continue his development with Deila and Celtic watching on closely. There’s no harm in a six month deal somewhere and if Henderson shows enough, he could feature over the second half of the season for the Bhoys.
Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven showed last season that new players (or players who have half a season at the club) can still have an impact in a major competition for the Bhoys.
Henderson will be eager to get involved but it’s just unfortunate for him that he’ll have to bide his time patiently with central midfield one of the most congested areas of the squad.