Brendan Rodgers admitted last week that there are two key factors he must consider when attempting to do business in January – ‘availability’ and ‘affordability’, per the Scottish Sun.
The report adds that a new centre-back is Celtic’s priority in the New Year. Finding one that is within the club’s budget, not to mention good enough to genuinely improve the squad, is easier said than done, however.
Though with Rodgers’ former Liverpool defender Martin Kelly set to become a free-agent in the summer, does the one-time England international fit the bill? The 27-year-old has barely played for Crystal Palace this season, his only action in the last month coming in the 4-1 EFL Cup humiliation at Bristol City.
And Kelly is well down the pecking order with Mamadou Sakho, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Scott Dann, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Jairo Riedewald arguably favoured at Selhurst Park.
A reunion with Rodgers, a manager who showered Kelly with praise during his time in charge at Liverpool, could be exactly what the defender needs to jolt his career to life.
“Martin has shown a commitment to our vision here. He is a young player who really impressed me when I came in,” Rodgers told The Mirror in February 2013, determined to offer Kelly a new contract despite the defender suffering from a cruciate ligament injury.
"He was exceptionally good in the games he played earlier in the season."
Kelly might not have lived up to the early promise that saw him called up to England’s 2012 European Championship squad but he still has plenty to offer. Adept at centre-half and right-back, he would also provide versatility in a Celtic defence that has been stretched to its limit by injuries this season.
Out of contract in 2018, Kelly could be both available and affordable.
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