In the last couple of weeks, Brendan and the board have been very busy going over their targets for the coming window. I hear that as many as five players are being considered, as the planning gears up not only for the remainder of this campaign but for the next. Celtic’s transfer planning is well advanced. This week, the engine was cranked up a notch.
Since the Patrick Roberts injury, Celtic has been keenly on the lookout for another winger, knowing that competition is important to drive excellence and maintain our high standards. When Hayes played so well in the match last weekend Brendan was fully entitled to be happy. Oh don’t get me wrong, the hunt was not suspended or anything, but the manager would have been aware that with a full month of the window he could take his time.
All that changed when the Irish winger went down against Dundee, and quickly motioned to the bench that he couldn’t carry on. The injury looked bad on the night; yesterday we found out that it was so much worse. Hayes will be out for six months.
The best wishes of everyone at the club quickly went out to him. But this is football, and football doesn’t stop for tea and sympathy. No sooner had the club accepted the news and started the process of bringing the player back, but the manager and his people were analysing what it meant for their plans, and putting a turbo charge on at least one.
There was talk inside Celtic Park of changing the terms of the deal for young Lewis Morgan; did we want to bring him to the club immediately? There has even been talk of going through the Ryan Christie loan deal with a fine toothed comb to find out if there is flexibility in there for bringing him home early. Brendan has rejected those ideas out of hand; why should another club suffer for our misfortune? Deals which are made will stand.
One of the reasons why we’re content to keep those things as they are is Brendan’s confidence in the young winger we already have at the club; Mikey Johnston, who has played well in the last few games and looked to be settling into a role as an able deputy and first team backup. Not so anymore; he has been very much catapulted to the first team squad and that’s where he’ll stay for the duration of the current campaign.
There are a number of players on our radar, but only one of them plays in the wide area; Charley Musonda, Chelsea’s young prodigy and almost certainly the player Lawwell and the manager were in London talking to recently. I’m told that deal is looking very likely; this week has given the process a jolt. There could be news of this one within days.
Whilst tabloids write utter nonsense about Moussa Dembele – if not outright lies, it has to be said – the real business has been going on behind the scenes; not top players departing, but the impending signings (note that word, instead of arrivals) of perhaps as many as a half dozen. This is going to be an exciting window, and it always was … but there’s nothing like a major injury setback to change things. In this case, that means the club working fast.