What makes you a front-runner for the season ahead? A glut of transfers or good planning?
Transfers are all well and good, but it is what your end product is that really matters. On and off the field.
We’ve only just entered week two of June and already the media are moist with Ibrox transfer news. Comparing their early transfer activity to the relative ‘inactivity’ at Celtic Park.
Transfer activity amounts to very little in my book, unless you have foundations. And a plan of course.
If you throw enough shit then eventually some might stick. Well, there’s been a lot of shit at Ibrox since they rebooted in 2012.
Rangers bought/took on loan around seventeen players last season. By contrast they off loaded/loaned out about fourteen, some are still out there and some have come back.
The SMSM were fawning over one another about this compared to Celtic’s transfer situation last summer. I mean let’s be honest here, the Celtic squad is awash with established talent.
It only requires minor tinkering to freshen up and to move up a gear in Europe. Unlike to continual Ibrox bring-and-buy sale, wholesale changes are not required at Celtic Park.
Celtic have probably offloaded more players than they have recruited in the last two seasons. I haven’t verified that – it’s a guesstimate.
There have been so many peripheral players, the club simply cannot accommodate all of them. Even now, the squad still requires a little pruning.
Whoever Celtic recruit this summer, they don’t need a lot of new personnel. By next summer, a number of players will be out of contract as well.
Some will sign new deals and some will be sold off this summer. I doubt many, if at all, will be allowed to run their current contracts down.
Dorus de Vries, Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig, Cristian Gamboa, Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Allan, James Forrest and Ryan Christie are all in the final year of their contracts. I’d say that apart from Lustig, Brown and Forrest – who by the way could all potentially sign new deals this summer – the rest could each leave now if we’re being realistic.
It’s unlikely that all of those players would depart though if they did, I would expect quite a bit of transfer activity from Brendan! Tom Rogic was on that list, but has just committed his future to the club and is like a new signing.
All the talk right now of course is about Armstrong and as other Celtic bloggers have already commentated, this will be resolved very soon. The question is what does Stuart really want?
To be richer and play in the Premier League? Or win trophies and be adored and chanted by his fans?
The former he will only get from playing in the south obviously, but if it’s what he wants then he should go. The latter he won’t get because the bigger clubs aren’t interested in him.
He’s only had one barn storming season with Celtic and he needs another one to convince bigger English clubs – or Celtic – to give him the deal he probably wants. I really like Stuart and I’m still of the opinion that he is learning, but if he committed to a longer deal at Celtic he could still go to the Premier League in a couple of years time a more experienced player.
Dedryck Boyata I’m not so romantic about. Yes, overall he has improved under Brendan, but he has not put the bomb scare moments to bed I’m afraid.
His inclusion in the Belgium squad is very positive for him and his prospects, but given his lack of international caps some may feel this is a gamble by Roberto Martinez. It’s a huge tournament for Dedryck because if he rides this one out in good form, he won’t just have a new contract on the table waiting for him at Celtic Park, he’ll have other suitors looking to pry him away.
Ryan Christie’s future could all depend on the comings and goings at Celtic. He is a great wee player who I think could do a good job for Brendan.
He’s only 23 and had a great season for Aberdeen. If he can’t break into the Celtic team this season then another loan would only run down his contract and free to discuss a move come January 2019.
De Vries, Gamboa and Allan should be offloaded now. Their time is up in my opinion.
Scott Bain, a loanee from Dundee signed a permanent deal to bolster the goalkeeping contingent. He is my preferred backup choice to Craig Gordon.
Although only seen once, Marvin Compper signed in January and will be looking to stake a claim in defence this summer. Similarly, Lewis Morgan signed in January, but went back on loan to St Mirren so he too will be aiming to break onto the scene at Celtic.
Jack Hendry also signed in the winter transfer window and has already begun to ease himself into the team. He is set to be part of a new generation of the Celtic defence alongside Kieran Tierney, Anthony Ralston and Kristoffer Ajer.
So on the face of it, Celtic already have new and young players looking to establish themselves in the team. However, that isn’t how the media see it.
They want numbers and new fancy things to write about. January acquisitions, forward planning and new contracts aren’t juicy enough for them.
Celtic’s advanced preparation for the coming season doesn’t appear to float the boat of the SMSM. The one player that might get them talking positively about Celtic is Odsonne Edouard.
Signed on loan from PSG as a backup to Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths, he took his opportunity with both hands. I’m confident that Celtic can do the required business here.
After that it’s all down to who stays and who goes, as per my previous blog. With less than a week until the World Cup, some of those decisions will need to wait until after the tournament ends.
Hail ! Hail!