Why Celtic must not hand Mikael Lustig a new contract
Celtic star Mikael Lustig has hinted that he’s ready to sign a new deal at Parkhead, as per a report from the Scottish Sun.
The Sweden international, 31, has been at Celtic since 2012 and has made over 250 appearances across all competitions. He is out of contract at the end of the season but Mikael Lustig sounded very confident about signing a new contract with Celtic and staying beyond the current campaign.
But the question is – should Celtic hand the 31-year-old a new contract?
Mikael Lustig has been with the Hoops for over six years now, having joined the club back in January 2012 from Norwegian outfit Rosenborg BK.
He has been a brilliant servant for the Glasgow giants, winning 13 trophies in his six-year stay at the Parkhead, including two trebles. He has been a mainstay in Brendan Rodgers’ side in the last couple of seasons as well.
But the Swede’s form has dropped dramatically since last season and he has put in a series of underwhelming performances this season. Lustig has been erratic, lacking the defensive nous as well as the pace with which he once operated in his heydays.
However, the 31-year-old remains one of Rodgers’ most trusted members of the squad. Due to his versatility, Lustig can play in a number of positions and the Celtic manager has often selected the Sweden international this term, despite his lackadaisical displays. That just shows the immense faith Rodgers has in Lustig.
Lustig might not be as consistent as he once was but he is one of the senior-most figures in the team and has gained a lot of experience playing in the Scottish Premiership.
He is a leader on and off the pitch, and his versatility adds more value to his name. With Cristian Gamboa’s contract running out and Anthony Ralston yet to prove that he is ready to be a first-team regular at the club, Rodgers could be spared for hanging on to Lustig.
But truth be told, Lustig has become a liability to Celtic even though he gives Rodgers the flexibility to play him in a number of positions. Lustig will turn 32 next month and has already shown big signs of slowing down this season.
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He is clearly past his prime and while he’s been a fantastic servant for Celtic, Rodgers must simply not offer him a new contract, even if that means losing Lustig for free in the summer of 2019.