Why Celtic should iron out a contract extension for Nir Bitton
According to The Scottish Sun, Celtic star Nir Bitton has expressed his desire to pledge his future to the reigning Scottish champions, with the 27-year-old keen to extend his stay at Parkhead beyond the end of the current season.
The Israeli international is nearing the last six months of his current contract in Glasgow, meaning that he will be free to discuss terms with other clubs when the transfer window reopens in January. However, Bitton has made it clear that he wants to be a part of Celtic’s plans moving forward.
Bitton, though, is not the only Celtic player who is set to become a free agent next summer, with Jonny Hayes, Calvin Miller, Craig Gordon and Scott Sinclair all nearing the end of their present deals at Parkhead.
As per the report, Neil Lennon, who signed Nir Bitton from Israeli outfit Ashdod back in 2013 during his first managerial stint at Parkhead, has revealed that the club will definitely try to have his unresolved contract situation sorted out in the coming days.
Having played a key role in the club’s qualifying campaign in Europe earlier in the season, the 27-year-old has already featured on 13 occasions for Celtic in all competitions this term, although he has found himself out of action in recent times due to an injury.
Bitton was rotated between central defensive and holding midfield roles before his injury, where he put in a number of commanding displays to cover for the absence of some of the regular names on the teamsheet.
The 25-cap Israeli international was regarded as a key player during his first four seasons at the club but Bitton’s repeated struggles with injuries, coupled with managerial changes and new arrivals, have resulted in his slip down the pecking order.
Bitton, who has been at Celtic for almost six-and-a-half years, has only played a bit-part role in the first-team over the past two or three seasons but few would deny that the Israeli has never let the team down whenever he has been called into action.
He is one of those players who always seems to play for the badge and puts in his hundred per cent on the pitch, despite not being a regular starter. A no-nonsense professional and a firm fan favourite at Parkhead, Bitton is always ready to do a job for the club in any position, be it in defence or midfield.
To put things into perspective, Celtic currently do not have too much depth in their defensive midfield and central defensive options and offering Nir Bitton fresh terms beyond the end of the ongoing campaign would definitely go a long way towards maintaining the right kind of balance in the squad.
Agreed, Bitton is unlikely to be considered as a regular starter by Lennon in the years to come but it is worth mentioning here that the 27-year-old is a veteran of 194 appearances for Celtic in all competitions, meaning that he has a sound know-how of the Scottish game and definitely a wealth of European experience as well.
Besides his obvious physicality, versatility and quality on the ball, Bitton continues to be a positive influence on the up and coming players at the club with his never-say-die attitude and at 27, he still has a lot to contribute as a professional on the pitch.
Furthermore, with 34-year-old Scott Brown the only reliable out-and-out defensive midfielder in the ranks and the Hoops currently lacking depth in the centre-back department, keeping hold of Bitton would make a lot of sense in footballing terms.
Every club needs some utility squad players and the Israeli certainly fits the bill in that regard. It is true that the Hoops need to focus on bringing in fresh faces through the door to keep progressing in the right direction but it is also important for them to hold on to some of the experienced heads.
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The player himself is keen to commit his future to the club, despite knowing the fact that he is going to have to live with a bit-part role, and the Hoops should definitely oblige by putting a contract on the table for him to sign.
Suffice to say, Celtic offering Nir Bitton fresh terms should be an absolute no-brainer and a step in the right direction.