Celtic sign Stoke City right-back Moritz Bauer on season-long loan
Celtic have announced the signing of Stoke City right back Moritz Bauer on a season long loan deal, with an option to buy at the end of the season.
The 27-year-old former Grasshoppers Zurich and Rubin Kazan defender made just 26 appearances for the English Championship side in the past two season, after falling out of favour with successive managers - following a £5 million move from Rubin Kazan in January 2018.
Bauer is Celtic’s SIXTH summer signing and will look to battle it out with Hatem Abd Elhamed for the right back slot - and he could be in contention to make his debut in this weekend’s Glasgow derby at Ibrox, according to manager Neil Lennon.
Speaking to Celtic TV, Bauer said: “I will probably be the biggest supporter ever for the game tomorrow and it couldn’t be any bigger for Celtic. When I signed for Stoke, four days later I played at Old Trafford and I thought that couldn’t be any bigger. But now, with probably the biggest derby in the world coming up, it looks absolutely amazing. Let’s see how this week goes, but I'm just buzzing for the atmosphere and to be part of the team.”
He added: “It’s a massive club with a big history and when you see the stadium from the outside and the players there who have already worn the jersey - they are big names. Then there are the legendary nights in the Champions League and the fans who are an absolutely amazing support.
“My Mum always said she wanted to visit Anfield and Celtic Park at least once in her life, I played at Anfield with Stoke and now I'm at Celtic Park and I'm really buzzing for her.”
Manager Neil Lennon added: "Moritz is a player with very good pedigree, Austrian international. In the Premier League he played very well, had a great time at Rubin Kazan and we've got a good player on our hands.
"He's very fit, good attitude and strengthening up one of the positions we've been looking at. He'll train on Thursday and Friday and then we'll gauge him again on Saturday and see how he is."
Bauer had been a transfer target of former Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers in January 2018 before Stoke City beat them to his signature after their £5 million bid was accepted by the Russian Premier League side.
According to David Sansun of Russian Football News back when he signed for Stoke City, the six time capped Austrian international has a ‘powerful attacking mentality’ and quickly became a fan favourite with the Rubin Kazan supporters.
Bauer was Rubin Kazan’s Player of the Year in 2017 with his strong performances and hard working attitude making him stand out as a consistent performer - establishing himself as arguably one of the Russian league’s top three right backs, according to Sansun, alongside Mario Fernandes of CSKA Moscow and Igor Smolnikov of Zenit St.Petersburg.
Sansun added: “As a right back, Bauer has a combination of excellent speed, strong technical ability, even in tight spaces, and a powerful attacking mentality which see’s the Austrian roam forward at any opportunity to put his excellent crossing to use. He also has a mean long throw in.
“Bauer is a very clever individual as you will soon find out, and so while he can often lack in his defensive positioning – sometimes making up for it with his pace – he does have the mental ability to learn, adapt and improve himself under the experienced coaches of the Premier League.”
Just like the signing of ElHamed, Bauer’s signing has been met by some criticism from a small section of the Celtic support, but just like ElHamed, Bauer will be hoping that his performances on the pitch does his talking for him and silence his detractors that have emerged even before he has kicked a ball in anger.