Where are they now? Part 1 – Jul 2021

It’s easy enough to keep track of the progress made by Moussa Dembele, Stuart Armstrong and Kieran Tierney – who just signed a 5-year contract for £110k per week which will earn him approximately £30m (not bad for a Wishaw lad who was almost released by Celtic after breaking his leg).

But what about those who have recently moved to less high-profile leagues? How are they getting on?

Patryk Klimala

TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InJagiellonia BiałystokJan 2020£3.5m
OutNew York Red BullsApr 2021£3.46m

Patryk was signed as a development player under Neil Lennon’s tenure but it was reported by ex-employee Mike Trusson that this was done with no actual plan in place for his development.

While fans were impressed with his effort and attitude, dubbing him the ‘Polish Paddy’ he contributed only 3 goals and 0 assists from 17 appearances and never made a real impact. Most fans felt we were lucky to recoup almost all the transfer fee we paid when selling him to NY Red Bulls where he has significantly increased his weekly salary as a ‘designated player’.

With the MLS 2021 season beginning 4 days before Patryk’s transfer, he didn’t start in the teams’ first 6 games of the season (2 wins, 4 losses), being restricted to sub appearances, but has started the following 7 games (3 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss) coinciding with a significant uptick in results.

He has provided 3 goals and 4 assists in 10 appearances in helping NY Red Bulls to 8th place and 5 points off second place after 13 games. In his most recent appearance (22nd July) he scored the opening goal in a 1-1 draw away to Toronto FC and was voted Man of the Match.

Lewis Morgan

TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InSt. MirrenJan 2018£400k
OutInter MiamiJan 2020£700k

Lewis was in the final 6 months of his St. Mirren deal when Celtic paid £400k and loaned him back to St. Mirren to avoid a compensation tribunal in the summer and get him on Celtic player wages early.

He then spent an unconvincing 18 months in the Celtic first-team squad (punctuated by a 5-month loan spell at Sunderland) where he was regularly played out of position and failed to hold down a spot in the starting XI. The pinnacle of his Celtic time was scoring the opening goal in a 3-1 win against Rennes but he failed to kick on from there, departing after 31 apps, 2 goals and 3 assist.

In the 2020 MLS season, Lewis finished as top scorer (5), top assister (8) and was voted MVP while helping Inter Miami to a mid-table finish playing in his natural inverted left-wing position. He was linked with “Sheffield United, Reading, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Nice and Rennes” but bafflingly chose not to swap Miami for Sheffield.

His team are currently languishing at the bottom of their conference despite having ex-Real Madrid/Chelsea/Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain up front. After 1 and a half seasons at David Beckham’s MLS franchise club, his value on transfermark.com has soared from €750k to €4m. He has provided 6 goals and 9 assists in 35 games and remains a locked-in starter despite the 6-game losing streak Miami have just put up.

Cristian Gamboa

TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InWest BromAug 2016£1.1m
OutVfL BochumJune 2019Free

The enigmatic and fast-paced Gamboa never really impressed in his 31 appearances (0 goals, 3 assists) for Celtic but also didn’t appear incompetent. The preference of managers to play bang-average players such as Anthony Ralston and loanee Moritz Bauer led to speculation that playing more games would have triggered an extra payment to West Brom.

As a free agent in the summer of 2019, he joined Bochum in the second tier of German football and has been a mainstay in the team, playing 55 games over two seasons (1 goal, 2 assists, 15 yellow cards). In his first season he helped the team to a mid-table finish but will be looking forward to facing Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund next season after playing a key role in Bochum winning 2.Bundesliga. He appears to be still considered the first choice right-back despite the team graduating up a tier.

Filip and Patrik Twardzik

TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InHertha BerlinFeb 2009Free
OutBolton WanderersFeb 2015£70k
TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InHertha BerlinFeb 2009Free
OutFC Rot-Weiß ErfurtJune 2014Free

Filip and Patrik are Czech twin brothers who signed for Celtic under Gordon Strachan on a free transfer from Hertha Berlin as they turned 16 and were able to sign professional contracts for the first time.

Patrik is a forward who never made an appearance for the Celtic first-team before leaving in 2014 for the German third tier team FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt. Filip is a CB/CDM who followed Neil Lennon to Bolton after only 5 senior appearances for Celtic.

Patrik never progressed much beyond his post-Celtic levels, making only 5 appearances over 3 seasons in the German third tier before dropping down to the regional German fourth tier where he has found relative success with Germania Halberstadt, Berliner FC Dynamo and then again with Germania Halberstadt as a goalscoring centre-mid.

Filip was released by Bolton after 5 games and 1 goal and moved back and forward between mid-table top-flight teams in Czechia and Slovakia before most recently landing at Spartak Trnava (3rd place in Slovakian top-flight last season). He is a first-choice centre-back and, so far this season, has scored 2 goals in 3 qualifiers for the Europa Conference League.

Having [both] turned 28 in February, Filip is in his prime years but with a listed value of €350k he seems highly unlikely to crack the Czech national team or move to a higher level.

Their older brother Daniel also appeared in goal for Dundee and Motherwell 32 times between 2013 and 2016 but now lines up across from Patrik in the German fourth tier.

Kundai Benyu

TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InIpswich TownJune 2017Free
OutWealdstoneOct 2020Free

Kundai Benyu followed the likes of Moussa Dembele in cross-border Bosman poaching by Celtic when Brendan Rodger’s brought the 19-year-old to Celtic Park. He was signed as a development player, but with no Reserve League the plan was to loan him out immediately. Rodgers cancelled this plan after Benyu impressed in pre-season against the likes of East Kilbride and Linfield to keep him in the first team squad instead.

Benyu never impressed after this, or on loan spells at Oldham and Helsingborgs. He was released by English fifth tier side Wealdstone after 12 games in 6 months and now plies his trade with Vestri in the middle of the Icelandic second tier at the age of 23.

Mo Bangura

TransferTrading ClubTransfer MonthReported Fee
InAIKAug 2011£2.5m
OutIstanbul Basaksehir BKFeb 2014Free

22-year-old Bangura was recommended by Celtic legend Henrik Larsson while he was facing AIK in the Swedish top-flight as manager of Helsingborgs. There was a rumour after Mo underwhelmed in his first season at Celtic that the club had signed the wrong Bangura, as his team-mate/countryman Teteh Bangura transferred in the same month. However, the equally underwhelming career of Teteh since 2011 suggests this was probably just retrospective speculation.

Mo moved to Istanbul after 2 and a half years without a goal as a striker and also failed to score there in 8 games. He then returned to AIK for a spell before going to DL Yifang in the Chinese top flight where he scored 9 goals in 25 games in the most prolific season of his career. He returned to Sweden and faded away ignominiously, and now aged 32, has been without a professional club since 31st December 2018.

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