Celtic are reportedly eyeing a transfer swoop for Derby County full-back Nathan Byrne, according to The Scottish Sun.
What’s the story?
It’s no secret that Celtic are in the market for a full-back ahead of the new Scottish Premiership season, which is set to get underway on Saturday 31st July.
The Bhoys had previously been interested in a deal to sign Sheffield United defender George Baldock, but the Blades seem reluctant to sell any of their key players this summer, with the full-back being among those.
This has seen Celtic turn their attentions to an alternative option in Nathan Byrne, with The Scottish Sun claiming that Agne Postecoglou is keeping tabs on the 29-year-old ahead of a potential move.
Byrne has only been with Derby County since 2020, but has seemingly made a good impression whilst with the Rams, having previously played for Wigan Athletic earlier in his career.
Byrne would leave a sizeable void
Byrne made 42 appearances in total for Derby County last season, in what was a forgetful league campaign under the management of Wayne Rooney.
The Rams finished 21st in the Championship table, and only avoided relegation into League One on the final day of the 2020/21 season, as they drew 3-3 with Sheffield Wednesday, which saw the Owls relegated into the third tier of English football instead.
He had an average Whoscored rating of 6.81, which put him fifth in the rankings amongst the other members of the Derby County team last term.
Byrne made a positive impact at both ends of the pitch for Derby last term though, with the defender having four assists to his name, which put him joint-top alongside Martyn Waghorn in that list.
He also made an average of 1.4 crosses per game, which is more than any other Derby County player in the 2020/21 season, and with only two other Rams players getting through more minutes of action than him (Matt Clarke and Jason Knight), Byrne’s potential departure would leave a sizeable void in the Derby defence.
Derby boss Wayne Rooney has previously labelled Byrne’s game-management as “excellent” back in March 2021, after the Rams secured a hard-fought point against Brentford.
It remains to be seen as to whether Derby are willing to even consider any offers for Byrne this summer, but you would imagine they’ll be keen to keep hold of player that is likely to be a regular in their team moving forwards.
Derby have still got a relatively young squad, and they’ll need the more experienced players in their team to help aid the development of the younger players, especially given that they could be in for another tough season if new arrivals aren’t to come through the door.
But the prospect of potentially European football with Celtic might prove to be too good of an opportunity to turn down for Byrne, and it’ll be interesting to see what his stance on the Bhoys’ rumoured interest in his services is at this moment in time.
If Byrne was to depart, then the Derby supporters are likely to be fearing relegation into League One this season, especially if a suitable replacement isn’t signed before the summer transfer window slams shut.