When Celtic emerged from the January transfer window I was about as happy with the outcome as I could have been. Sevco sites and some of our critics tried to pour cold water on the business we had done; they could not comprehend what we were doing going for a young kid from Chelsea as our “marquee” player and why we were signing a German defender in his 30’s who was ineligible to play in the Europa League match in the Ukraine.
I slammed them for that. Because to say it then was ludicrous, before either man had kicked a ball and when the intent, to build for next season now, seemed clear. But what has happened since has re-raised those questions. Last night, on Facebook, I lamented the absence even on the bench of Marvin Compper.
I had intended to question the wisdom of letting Charley Musonda rot away in that spot before today’s rash of articles about it; there is nothing in them that I would disagree with at all. Patrick Roberts’ second loan deal looks like a colossal waste of money. Are we to assume this is another one? If it is, this ought to be the end of the “develop other clubs players” project; let’s, for God’s sake, focus from here on in on developing our own.
At least then you get a resale value if things don’t work out.
Scott Bain looks to be working out nicely but the signing of Compper is already edging into being highly questionable. Where is this guy? What the Hell has happened to him that Dedryk Boyata is seen as a preferred alternative? That damns him right out of the gate.
Musonda is a promising young player with electrifying skills which were good enough for La Liga; if he’s not physically built for Scottish football he has zero chance of making it in England. The pace of the game here is fast; that’s one of the reasons I’ve heard for his being unable to make an impression on it so far. You know, I agree with that, which is why it is infuriating and baffling to see us try to play slow, boring possession football in so many games … and it’s costing us points.
For the first time I look at our over-bloated midfield and wonder what the Hell is going on and what the plan here actually is. I look at Callum McGregor playing at left back, after many us were screaming for a backup to Kieran being signed in the window, and I wonder if our manager is blind to some of this stuff. It is arrogance, not the good kind which makes him a presence in the dressing room and has brought so much success; it’s the sort that refuses to break faith with one philosophy and one way of approaching the game and at Liverpool led to much the same problems as we have here; a top heavy team lacking in other areas of the park.
I think back over our Champions League horror shows and don’t see any reason to believe we’re suddenly going to get better on that stage; that was the one this guy was ultimately brought in for. I said after the Zenit game that what worried me wasn’t that our defence made mistakes but that going forward we offered nothing at all … with all this alleged firepower in our team, and that’s the same problem we see so often here in domestic games now.
This style we play, it is no longer breaking teams down. Our over-bloated midfield means that we have neglected other areas of the team like the full back positions where Lustig walks into the team whenever fit and our one first team left back, the most kicked player in Scotland, is injured and our whole left side is bereft without him there, when the chance that this could happen was obvious, blatantly obvious, three months ago.
Scott Sinclair is our top scorer this season in the league. In a campaign where everyone acknowledges he’s been very poor. That alone is evidence that something pretty serious has gone wrong somewhere, as if the league form wasn’t proof enough of it. We have two and arguably three strikers at the club capable of 20 plus goals … none of them has got near it.
The manager is paid to find the answers to this stuff, but I ponder the January window now, three months on, and I wonder just what the thinking is. We are facing a summer of uncertainty about the squad; that needs to be tackled without delay so we know what kind of team we’ll be watching next season. A better one, I hope, than this. For the first time I wonder if our faith in the current direction of the club is entirely justified.
For the first time, there are serious questions to answer.
You can also follow us on Twitter at @The_Celtic_Blog