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Do Ange’s Comments On Celtic’s New Bhoy Suggest Some Further Business In Korea?

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So today we completed our fourth bit of transfer business in this window, and with all respect to the three who came before this is the one we’re all excited about. Oh Hyeon-gyu is an aggressive, talented footballer who plays in one of the sexy positions.

We’ve all been waiting on this deal for a few weeks, and there was a lot of toing and froing along the way. What interests me about what Ange had to say today is that this kid was the number one target this whole time, and that in fact he thought at one point that the agreement to bring him to the club might have been the first bit of business we got done.

Celtic have been watching him for ages, even before the World Cup. And that has to be true, because, of course, he didn’t play in that tournament.

Celtic does not just pick these players out of a hat anymore. Our transfer policy works better than that, and to be honest it always did.

Even when we’ve failed in our signings some of these guys go back a long way. Albian Ajeti, we wanted before he went to West Ham. His form was so good in Switzerland, including in European games, that an EPL club wanted him and beat us to his signature. Signing him, when we did, was not some flash in the pan. It didn’t work, but it wasn’t some mad punt.

Clearly, we’re even better than we were, and in fact our systems work better than I have ever seen them work, but the Ajeti example is but one proof that when we say we’ve been watching this guy a while that we aren’t just saying it because it sounds good.

What I find interesting about those comments, above and beyond the revelation that this guy has been on the radar a while, is that it’s clear that we were also interested in fellow Korean, and World Cup breakout star, Cho Gue-sung.

We were, in fact, in open negotiations with his club, and then with his agent. The interest was real, and we were in the running. It’s also pretty apparent that we’d have signed him had he been willing to make the move in this window.

So I wonder if, perhaps, we’d have signed both of these guys in this window if that had been feasible?

I wonder if we’re intending to revisit this deal in the summer?

Because one of the things Cho Gue-Sung liked about the club was that we had an Asian contingent already. Imagine how much easier it might be to do a deal if one of his countrymen is here?

So I think that this is only the start of our reaching into the Korean market and I would not be in the least bit surprised to see Cho Gue-Sung back in the headlines over the summer, as we gear up for another bid designed to bring him to Parkhead.

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  • Benjamin says:

    I think you’re right James. Wouldn’t be a surprise to go back to Korea again next summer. If that happens (and even if it doesn’t!) Celtic should plan a summer tour of Asia. Seoul, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

    The one problem with adding Cho is what happens with Kyogo? Or the rest of the squad? For Champions League, we’re limited to 17 non-Scottish players. Right now we’re at 17 already including 2 at Cho’s position, so it’s a policy of one in and one out. Who from the list below are we taking out if we sign Cho? Something to think about…

    GK (2): Hart, Siegrist
    Def (5): Bernabei, Johnston, Kobayashi, CCV, Starfelt
    Mid (4): Hatate, Mooy, O’Reiley, Iwata
    Forward (6): Haksa, Abada, Kyogo, Jota, Maeda, Oh

    Realistically, the only way I can see us adding to this list, particularly among the forwards, is if one of these players leaves for a big fee this summer. If you told me Ange was looking at upgrading over Starfelt, Bernabei, or Siegrist, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised, but realistically that would necessitate a like for like replacement in the squad to have enough positional depth for Champions League next year.

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