Last night, Brendan Rodgers brought us the one thing we needed from him most in terms of the club’s transfer dealings; he brought us clarity. He stated that club’s transfer policy remains just as it was before. He said that he and the coaches pick the players. He said the relationship with the board of directors is good, and he said he’s happy with it.
There are things that still don’t make sense; clearly the youth player City is about to sign, and then loan to us, isn’t one of his targets, but that hardly matters. This kid won’t be guaranteed first team football. He will have to earn it like everyone else. Brendan will deal with this in a straightforward and responsible way, and yes, he will make the kid a better player whether he’s a first team regular or not. If the kid impresses he will be.
He has said that the club is “working hard” behind the scenes to deliver for him and for the fans. You can only choose to believe that or not, and as I have full faith and confidence in the manager than I do. Because Brendan is not a man who has to kiss up to those above him at the club. He’s a respected coach and will be treated appropriately.
As it so happens, I agree with everything he said in his analysis of where we are as a club. We do not want, as he put it, “to be stockpiling players.”
We are not the sort of club that, in a panic, or to appease ungrateful and unrealistic fans, which goes out every summer to recruit a whole team. The media seems awfully fixated on the idea that Sevco has “improved the squad” with eleven players; that’s rank madness and desperation. Good managers improve the players they inherit, they don’t toss them all out and start all over again.
Someone pointed out to me the other day that the team which beat Rosenborg last week was pretty much Ronny Deila’s Celtic side. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but of course it was. It was a vast compliment, a compliment to the man at the helm at Celtic Park right now, a man who has delivered two trebles in two years, one of them unbeaten. I think we need better players at the back, but that’s a personal observation and the one area where Brendan appears to have a blindspot, but his overall stewardship of this club has exceeded our wildest dreams.
He has made every player at Celtic Park better than they were. He has instilled in some of them an iron will and confidence they probably never knew they had in them. I think Forrest and McGregor are the two standout examples of this, and both will play important roles tonight. Under Ronny neither looked like he had a future.
Signing better than the players we have in most of the key positions … it would cost tens of millions. That’s the dilemma we’re in here, that’s the glass ceiling we’re hitting our heads on. But it can be done at less cost, but only carefully. One thing is for sure, when this club does spend serious money it has more often than not gotten it right; Edouard was purchased without reluctance because everyone knew he was quality. Ntcham was the result of months of work, first in scouting then in examining his personal development and then, at the last, convincing City to do the deal, which they were not keen to do even without Guardiola’s input.
If people think this site was in a flap over transfer business or lack thereof it’s only because Brendan said things that we weren’t happy to hear. He said things that suggested frustration, anger even, and a sort of abandoning of any responsibility for who came in or out of the club. Last night he brought those fears to a close. He clarified. He explained.
And that’s enough. I might not like the waiting, but as long as the manager is satisfied that things are moving in the right direction I am comfortable with that. Now I can look forward to tonight’s game and enjoy the performances of the team again.