Ronny Deila’s rein as Parkhead supremo looks set to start with the ignominy of Celtic failing to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time in three seasons, as Legia Warsaw are 9/50 to turn their 4-1 first-leg supremacy into qualification for the play-off round.
Celtic are 8/13 to give the locals a home win to cheer about and 15/4 to overcome a two-goal handicap, which they’ll have to do to stand a chance of progressing.
According to today’s gossip columns, failure to advance in Europe’s premier competition will see England goalkeeper Fraser Forster hightail it to Southampton for £8m, while long-term centre-half target Virgin van Dijk could be tempted to follow soon.
Forster is just 2/5 with bwin.com to become a Saint by the end of the current transfer window.
The football world is only too aware that new Saints coach Ronald Koeman is flush following the £20m-plus sales of Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw over the summer, and Celtic are alleged to have rejected an earlier £4.5m offer for Forster as ‘derisory’.
However, the perennial Scottish Premier League champions will be practically powerless to stop Forster following former midfielder Victor Wanyama’s summer 2013 example by heading to the south coast, if they can only offer the Three Lions newbie domestic fare this term.
Koeman is also thought to be biding his time over a move for countryman Van Dijk, who is seen as an ideal candidate to replace Lovren at the heart of the Saints’ defence after a cracking first season in Scotland’s admittedly-poor top flight.
The former Groningen man only arrived in Glasgow last summer for £2.4m, but impressed greatly in 36 SPL appearances, in which he scored five goals.
Celtic went 13 league games without concession between the start of December and the end of August, which was largely down to Forster and Van Dijk’s efforts, but Southampton may have to move quickly to land the Breda native, as Newcastle are also thought to be sniffing around.