Sport Xavi: Celtic shouldn’t have to qualify for the Champions League

14:05  19 june  2017
14:05  19 june  2017 Source:   Read Sport

Celtic battling Serie A and Bundesliga sides for Brenet

  Celtic battling Serie A and Bundesliga sides for Brenet Brendan Rodgers wants to build a squad that is capable of putting up a stronger fight in the Champions League and bringing in players who have experience of that competition is a fine way of going about it. According to Dutch news outlet De Telegraaf, Celtic are amongst a number of clubs that are said to be interested in signing highly-rated PSV fullback Joshua Brenet this summer. The 23-year-old impressed for PSV in the Champions League last season and is also on the radar of Premier League side Watford, Serie A outfits Fiorentina and Udinese and Bundesliga clubs KC Koln and Eintracht Frankfurt. Capped twice by the Netherlands, Brenet is primarily a right-back but is comfortable in either fullback position having played in both positions frequently for the Eredivisie side. Under contract until 2020, it may take a sizeable bid from Celtic to prise the defender away from the Dutch giants. Celtic have two very capable fullbacks at the moment in Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig and there have been no signs that Rodgers wants to offload either player, so it remains to be seen how serious Celtic’s interest in Brenet really is.

But Xavi reckons Scotland’s champions shouldn ’ t be asked to play three rounds of qualifiers to reach the groups. He said: “I don’t think that Celtic should be a club that has to qualify for the Champions League .

Xavi believes Celtic shouldn ' t have to face Champions League qualifying rounds (Photo: AFP). But Xavi reckons Scotland’s champions shouldn ’ t be asked to play three rounds of qualifiers to reach the groups.

FC Barcelona v Celtic - UEFA Champions League © David Ramos/Getty Images Sport FC Barcelona v Celtic - UEFA Champions League

Barcelona legend Xavi believes that a club of Celtic’s size shouldn’t have to go through Champions League qualifiers and that they should gain automatic entry into the group stages by wining the Scottish title, The Scotsman report.

Xavi, who currently plays in Qatar, also believes that Brendan Rodgers’ side should be aiming for the last 16 of Europe’s biggest club competition.

He said:

“When you consider the size of the club, their history, their stadium, they should qualify automatically by winning their league. I think Celtic’s ambition should be more than qualifying for the group stage, it should be to make it to the last 16.”

Champions League clubs enter race to sign Patrick Roberts

  Champions League clubs enter race to sign Patrick Roberts Celtic were always going to be facing an uphill battle to keep Patrick Roberts at the club for the 2017/18 season. The Manchester City youngster has spent the last 18 months at Parkhead and has become a real fan favourite, playing an instrumental part in Celtic’s undefeated domestic campaign this past season, scoring 11 goals and providing 19 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions. Roberts is eager to have his future sorted out as soon as possible and it appears as if City will be loaning the England U20 out again next season and Celtic want to be the club that takes him. However, there is increased competition for him for a number of reputable clubs from across Europe. According to the Mirror, Liga NOS side Sporting and Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice, both of whom will be playing the Champions League next season along with Celtic, as well as Bundesliga sides Schalke and Hoffenheim are interested in signing the former Fulham youngster. Celtic are hopeful of striking a deal for the 20-year-old attacker on a permanent basis but it remains to be seen if City are going to agree to such a deal. If a loan move is the decided future for Roberts, a return to Celtic Park where he has a real affinity with the fans and knows the club inside out makes too much sense.

Xavi has faced Celtic several times throughout his career. Brendan Rodgers’ men must negotiate three qualifiers before they reach the lucrative group stages of Europe’s top competition. He told the Record: “I don’ t think that Celtic should be a club that has to qualify for the Champions League .

Thanks to their win in the Scottish League Championship last season, Glasgow Celtic will have an opportunity to qualify for the 2015 – 2016 UEFA Champions League via the playoffs.

Xavi has urged Rodgers to keep hold of his star striker Moussa Dembele, as well as adding quality to his squad:

“Dembele was one of the top forwards in Europe last season and any club must firstly make sure that they keep their best players. If they want to go up a level in the Champions League they must also look to add some quality.”

After winning the domestic treble last season, the aim for Rodgers in the upcoming campaign will be to put in an improved performance in the Champions League. Celtic overcame a slow start to get through the qualifiers but they then finished bottom of their group.

The club will look to bring in some reinforcements to add to the squad in the hope that they can qualify for the Champions League knockout stages or, at worst, finish third in the group and go into the Europa League.

Celtic dismiss reported bid for Jean-Kevin Duverne .
Celtic have dismissed reports from France that they made a substantial bid for Jean-Kevin Duverne. The 19-year-old broke into the Lens side at the start of the season and made 40 appearances for the club in Ligue 2 side, catching the eye of a number of clubs along the way. Celtic were scouting the young defender several months ago, but reports from L’Equipe regarding a £4.8 million bid for Duverne are wide of the mark according to the Glasgow Evening Times. Duverne, who can play in centre-back or right-back, is contracted with the French side until 2019, and has attracted interest from a number of clubs across Europe. Brendan Rodgers has a number of options already in the heat of the defence, with first-team players Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata, Erik Sviatchenko all returning for pre-season training this morning. Kristoffer Ajer, who spent the remainder of last season on loan at Kilmarnock will also be vying for a first-team role during pre-season in the centre-back position. New signing Jonny Hayes will also join the squad for the first time at Lennoxtown as they begin preparations for the second round Champions League qualifier next month.

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