There can be no arguments about the quality which has been recruited given the restrictions on Celtic’s dealings in the market place. That doesn’t mean all fans are satisfied with the situation though – we’re a fickle bunch.
As supporters of this club we all have an opinion to share and I am but one of those people. Some of our viewpoints can be uneducated or misplaced whilst others are merely stating the obvious truth.
We know that the club have had a financial boost, but what they don’t have is money to spend on whoever they want. They also do not need to spend money on someone just for the sake of it as Brendan pointed out in a post transfer window interview.
It has to be right for us or we risk making similar useless moves as seen in Celtic’s very recent history. The management team has assessed and just about cleared away all of the dead wood inherited when they came in last summer.
We don’t need to collect any more. It drains the club and blocks the opportunity for youth to thrive.
Now the team is beginning to look more like Brendan’s despite the core of the squad being an accumulation of his predecessors’ players. He has reshaped them into his style of playing with many of his signature buys being a standout in his first season as manager.
To say the team has been transformed would be an understatement. Brendan and his backroom staff have taken the team to another level and it is far from over.
Throughout the summer we saw fourteen players depart on a permanent basis: Logan Bailly, Leo Fasan, Emilio Izaguirre, Saidy Janko, Kolo Touré, Efe Ambrose, Eoghan O’Connell, Kris Commons, Gary Mackay-Steven, Fiacre Kelleher, Paul McMullan, Conor McManus, Luke Donnelly and Aiden Nesbitt.
Eight players are out on loan: Scott Allan, Ryan Christie, Nadir Çiftçi, Joe Thomson, Sam Wardrop, Jamie Lindsay, Ross Doohan and PJ Crossan.
Some of those loans may spell the end of certain Celtic careers with contracts for Çiftçi, Thomson, Wardrop and Lindsay all expiring next year. With all these moves taking place, the first team has been whittled down to a squad size of 25 players.
Craig Gordon and Dorus de Vries make up our goalkeeping team. Our defence consists of Mikael Lustig, Kieran Tierney, Cristian Gamboa, Jozo Šimunović, Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata.
The midfield is perhaps our largest selection pool ranging from defensive, central, attack and wide players. Callum McGregor, Liam Henderson, Nir Bitton, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogić, Eboue Kouassi, Kristoffer Ajer, Scott Sinclair and James Forrest.
Up front we have Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembélé. Over the summer Brendan Rodgers has recruited Jonny Hayes, Kundai Benyu, Olivier Ntcham, Patrick Roberts and Odsonne Édouard to bolster the squad.
A new contract for Armstrong was good news and should allow him to settle in his second season under Brendan. The one year takes the pressure off everyone and allows him another season to prove he is worth a better, longer contract.
With so many players leaving it allows players in the development squad to get a chance. We’ve already seen appearances over the summer in preseason friendlies and competitive matches from players such as Anthony Ralston and Calvin Miller.
As pleasing as this is for our youthful hopefuls, the glaring concern was our inability to procure a central defender in this window. With all of our current defenders fit and on-form this wouldn’t be a concern but they aren’t and it is.
I’m not throwing the book at the club for not spending or at Brendan Rodgers for being naive – he’s explained the situation to us. The warning signs were there and we haven’t managed it so this is the squad we have until January which will receive full support from the fans.
There are six tough games coming up against Bayern Munich, PSG and Anderlecht. We also have an invincible domestic treble to defend so everyone will want a piece of Celtic this season.
We’ve already been treated to the early promise shown by Ntcham. Benyu is still young, but his energy is encouraging.
Hayes hasn’t quite hit the ground running. I’m sure over the season he will settle in though.
Édouard has come in as much needed back up to the front men so that has put many minds at rest. Perhaps the most exciting move was the return of Roberts.
Paddy is already a fans favourite. He’s young, flamboyant, talented and best mates with Mr Celtic himself, Kieran Tierney.
Even though it’s a loan deal, we already know his value to this team. The fans get excited when he plays.
So yes, whilst I’m disappointed not to see a central defender materialise in this transfer window, I’m pleased with the ins and outs this summer. Our squad is neater, compact and focussed.
It’s Brendan’s second season and he’s here for at least five in total. Just think how we are going to look a year from now?
I’m excited to see how we do against the best in Europe. It’s where we want to be and it’s the level all players should aspire to.