Ange Postecoglou is believed to have agreed terms with Celtic to become their new manager, with only UEFA now standing in the way of the appointment.
The Scottish Premiership runners up sacked Neil Lennon in February and had spent much of the year chasing Eddie Howe. A deal with the ex-Bournemouth boss appeared to be close, but it collapsed at the final hour, with the club citing ‘reasons out of both his and Celtic’s control.’
Within hours of Celtic’s bizarre decision to announce that Howe would not be joining, however, it emerged that Postecoglou – currently in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan – was the new target.
Reception to the former Australia boss has been mixed. Many in Scotland have treated the news with derision since he is virtually unknown in the UK, but reports from Asia and Australia have sung his praises, feeling the move is a big break for the 55-year-old which was long overdue.
He has been compared to Marcelo Bielsa for his intensity and commitment to attacking football which led Australia to the Asian Cup in 2015 and won titles with South Melbourne, Brisbane Roar and Yokohama.
Celtic are anxious to get Postecoglou in as soon as possible. it has been more than 100 days since Lennon left and the saga, off the back of their collapsed ‘Ten in a Row’ hopes, has turned them into something of a laughing stock.
Postecoglou will also have an extensive rebuilding job to undertake before the Scottish Premiership season starts in August, so the sooner he is appointed, the better.
Thankfully for the Hoops, Sky Sports are now reporting that an appointment may be closer than ever. They say Postecoglou has now verbally agreed to become the new manager, while a compensation agreement has already been reached with Yokohama, who aren’t prepared to deny him the opportunity to join a major European club.
The only hold-up now is Postecoglou’s lack of a UEFA Pro License which is normally required to take charge of Champions League matches. Celtic have applied for an exemption, and expect that to be granted due to Postecoglou’s extensive coaching experience, but the red tape is holding the deal up.
Once Postecoglou is appointed, he will be required to isolate for ten days upon arriving in Glasgow, so it will likely be late June at the earliest before he can take over.
That would leave him just a month to get his team into shape before the start of the league season on 1 August. Given Celtic’s squad is currently in tatters, and expected to get worse with the departures of Odsonne Edouard, Kris Ajer and Ryan Christie, you don’t envy the job on his hands.