Rivaldo Coetzee looked certain to be a Celtic player by the time August became September.
The South African international centre-back had been tipped to swap Ajax Cape Town in his homeland for a glamour move to Glasgow, with Brendan Rodgers giving the deal his seal of approval by describing Coetzee as an ‘outstanding young player’ (Scottish Sun).
However, according to the BBC, the 20-year-old will no longer be donning green and white in this window after failing a medical due to an underlying problem with his right foot. Consequently, this leaves Rodgers with an unwelcome headache with just a few days remaining before the transfer window slams shut.
Celtic’s lack of defensive depth was brutally exposed in midweek as Astana destroyed a makeshift partnership of midfielder Nir Bitton and untested youngster Kristoffer Ajer with an albeit moot 4-3 win in the Champions League qualifier second leg.
The only other options at Rodgers’ disposal are the currently injured Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko, along with Jozo Simunovic. The fact that the latter two have both been linked with an exit recently doesn’t help.
A Cauking signing
Therefore, you wonder whether the time is right for Celtic to follow through on their reported interest in QPR’s Steven Caulker.
According to The Scottish Sun last month, Rodgers had held talks with the former England international, who he managed to great effect during a loan spell at Swansea City from Tottenham Hotspur in 2011/12.
A hugely talented defender, Caulker was once viewed as one of England’s brightest prospects but fluctuating fitness and form ruined spells at Cardiff, Liverpool and Southampton while underlying mental health issues threatened a hugely promising career.
However, Caulker is just 25 and made his long-awaited Championship comeback in Saturday’s defeat to Cardiff after ten months out. Shoots of recovery are there and where better for Caulker to finally start fulfilling his potential than under Rodgers at Celtic.