I have seen talk recently that Celtic’s young Argentine Alexandro Bernabei should go out on loan to gain some much needed experience and game time.
The reason being that he isn’t good enough for Celtic at this moment in time and that he is going to struggle to get games ahead of Greg Taylor, and in order to get to the level required, he needs to go away and improve and Celtic should bring in a new left-back.
On the surface, it seems a reasonable suggestion. That’s what normally happens with young players who are seen to have a future at the club but aren’t quite at the required standard yet to play consistently and be relied upon.
I must admit, I like Bernabei, I think he does have quality, especially going forward. Remember the cross for Giakoumakis’s late winner against St Johnstone for example? That was top, top quality.
The problem is, he is capable of these moments, but he’s also capable of putting in four overhit crosses in a row.
When he comes inside in the inverted full-back role, he is very tidy on the ball and links up very nicely with the wingers and midfielders as we saw yesterday against Morton, especially in the 2nd half, he looked like he was really enjoying himself.
But he does seem poor defensively, and better teams will target us down the left hand side when he plays.
But let’s not forget, that was the exact same with Greg Taylor not too long ago, who many felt was simply not good enough for Celtic and he has improved tremendously over the past year or so.
Even when Taylor comes back from injury, Bernabei will still get games.
We know Ange likes to rotate the team, especially his full-backs. We saw how important both Ralston and Juranovic were for us both at right-back last season, they both got a pretty equal amount of game time.
And we need to remember, under Big Ange, our full-backs play in a very unique way that you only see at a handful of clubs in European football. What use is it going to be to send Bernabei out on loan to another club in Scotland or England for example to gain experience and improve his play, if he is going to come back to Celtic and be asked to play a totally different way?
Sure, he could still be able to work on things like his one-on-one defending for example, but I would argue that it’s much more beneficial for him to practice that up against players such as Jota, Maeda, Abada, Haksabanovic and Forrest in training each day.
And if we did get a new left back in January, while Bernabei went on loan, what happens next season? As presumably we’d still have Taylor and our new left back, does Bernabei then need to go out on loan for anther full season?
I think we need to give the player time. Yes, he does need to improve, but the potential is there, Ange obviously sees that, that’s why he paid £3.5m to bring him into the club.
For me, the best place for Bernabei to get experience, improve and get comfortable playing the Celtic way, is at Celtic.