The tricky winger would spend two and a half years at Celtic, becoming a fan favourite due to his trickery on the ball. He would often glide past opposition players creating and scoring goals.

Despite making his Manchester City debut before arriving in Paradise, he could never do enough to convince Pep Guardiola he was good enough. With a long contract, the winger wouldn’t return to Celtic, instead beginning a cycle of unsuccessful loan moves that stunted his development, resulting in him not turning into the top player many believed he was destined to become. 

Roberts won seven trophies including 2 trebles, and had some great moments throughout his time in Glasgow. His most impressive season of his entire career was his first under Rodgers where he had 30 goal contributions in under 2700 minutes of playing time. He was a key part to the unbeaten treble-winning side and managing to displace James Forrest who was entering his peak years. In this season he would even hit back at Man City, scoring his only ever competitive goal at the Etihad against his owners in the Champions League.

READ MORE: Patrick Berg Celtic transfer assessment: The perfect Angeball signing 

However, looking back most memories came from that season and not the next where Celtic put up a hefty loan fee with little return. Plagued with injuries he wouldn’t even hit 1000 minutes registering just a single goal and five assists. That goal being one of the memorable three in a rare Celtic Champions League away win against Anderlecht. James Forrest, perhaps fired up by the competition, would up his game meaning there was no need for Celtic to go back for Roberts the following season.

Now at the age of 24, Roberts is nearing the end of his City contract after yet another unsuccessful loan spell in France. Is he a player Celtic should be looking at or is his previous success rose-tinted and not as good as we may remember?

Celtic Performance Data

In front of goal, it’s not great, showing signs of overperformance that would be unsustainable over a long period of time. We see this get flipped in his final season as underperformance brings his output down to a level that simply wouldn’t be acceptable for a Celtic forward.

Celtic Way:

Creatively, outside his first six months he also overperformed. It’s interesting that in the best season of his career he overperformed in both xG and xA. This suggests his form wasn’t sustainable into future seasons. In 16/17 he had 0.78 goals + assists p90 on 0.46 xG + xA.

Celtic Way:


Radars are created using Wyscout data. Maximum and minimum data comes from the Scottish Premiership. Players must have started at least 10 matches. Outliers have been removed from the sample size.

Over the past two seasons Roberts has played for three different sides, mainly at English Championship level.

Offensive Radar

Offensively in the past two seasons, he hasn’t provided a huge amount at a lower level than Celtic with only 0.22xG p90. In terms of threat, he has under three touches in the box p90 and only 1.42 shots p90. Although this isn’t poor at a less dominant side, if you combine it with a poor goal conversion rate of only 6.45 percent, it meant any potential output on goal is limited by weak finishing.

Celtic Way:

Defensive/Creative Radars

Defensively, Roberts profiles nowhere near the numbers Ange’s system looks for. Likely signing Daizen Maeda for example had 7.3 successful defensive actions and 5.46 PAdj interceptions p90 compared to 3.61 and 1.97 of Roberts. He doesn’t have the mobility for Ange’s high press system that requires defending from the front.

The former Celtic winger shows up well on creative fronts. His best asset is still his one-v-one dribbling. Even playing for weaker sides, he still manages around nine dribbles p90. When at Celtic he achieved around 12 dribbles p90, which is more than even Jota has currently at 10. His dribbling helps give him opportunities to be creative. His 1.55 shot assists, 1.28 smart passes and 0.69 key passes p90 would rank him near the top of Scotlands charts.

Celtic Way:


Roberts lacks the mobility to play Ange’s high pressing system, and his signing, despite the romantic allure, wouldn't further optimise Ange’s starting eleven. On the other hand, he is a low-risk financial option that could provide squad depth and would be useful against sides that focus on playing a low block. His dribbling and creativity are still visible in less dominant sides and he is only 24, so could be a different option for Ange to bring on.

Overall, my heart always says yes to Roberts, thanks to the great memories he created. However, my head tells a different story. He simply wouldn’t be suitable for the style of Celtic side Ange is currently creating.