Could Pompey defender Jack Whatmough solve Celtic’s defensive problems as the Scottish Premiership champions look to strengthen their back line?
Jack Whatmough must have spent the summer wondering what could have been.
After all, while missing out on promotion and being consigned to another season in the third tier of English football, his one-time Pompey teammate and central defensive partner Adam Webster was gearing up for a big-money move to the Premier League.
Brighton and Hove Albion paid a club-record £20 million for the ball-playing Webster, just 12 months after he left Fratton Park for Bristol City (BBC).
Whatmough, however, remains the victim of injury problems which have stunted his development and prevented him from following in Webster’s footsteps.
Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers were linked earlier in 2019, as reported by the Sun, and there is still time for the Old Firm rivals to renew their interest with the window north of the border closing at the end of August.
Celtic, in particular, are crying out for defensive reinforcements with their glaring deficiencies brutally exposed in last weeks’ 4-3 defeat to Cluj in the Champions League qualification stage.
“If you take his injuries away I’m sure Jack would’ve been sold and would be touted as a Premier League player like Webbo,” said Whatmough’s former youth coach Paul Hardyman, speaking to The News.
“Jack was the out-and-out defender who was comfortable in possession whereas Webbo was more of an elegant player who caught the eye by bringing it out. He’s an excellent player and I’m sure he will come back because I know what a strong-minded kid he is.”
The Pompey academy graduate signed a new contract at Fratton Park in January but Celtic have the funds to make an offer the 2008 FA Cup winners cannot refuse after bringing in £25 million following the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal.
Commanding, technically gifted and still young at just 23 years of age, Whatmough certainly has a lot of the attributes Celtic are looking for.