I think it’s great that we’re about to make signings number three and four of the pre-season, and I am pleased that one of them is the big hard defensive midfielder we’ve been looking for a while now. Kwon Hyeok kyu is 6’3 and built like a bunker. He will not be easily pushed off the ball. This is the sort of “power” that Brendan Rodgers talked about.
Yang Hyun-jun is also on his way here, of course, and he’s an exciting talent who will be a great asset to the team. Yet none of these guys is the marquee player we’ve been crying out for and that’s not even one of the two issues I want to talk about, because I’m fairly certain that we are going to make that headline grabbing signing in this window.
No, my issues with this are two-fold. The first is that every player we add makes our Champions League registration quandary all the more acute. The second is that adding two more Korean players when we’ve already added an Australian in this window, to augment the six Japanese and the South Korean we already have at the club only makes us even more reliant on these guys and ever more vulnerable to the Asian Cup competition in January and February.
That tournament is happening, it’s on the horizon, and we could have a half dozen of our most important players are away for the latter stages of it; crucial away games in the league and a Scottish Cup fifth round tie. Yes, we can apply for postponements, but that’s a lot of games to have to fit in somewhere down the line, especially if we get a European run.
Someone at Celtic has to know what they are doing here, they cannot be utterly oblivious to this, especially when this site and others constantly flag it. But it would be good to see the evidence that someone knows what they are doing, or to hear someone speak on this matter directly, to assure us that we’re not stumbling blindly into an act of incomprehensible risk-taking when that isn’t in the least bit necessary. And so far nobody has.
We used to accuse the Celtic board of being too conservative with its signing policy; the pivot to Asia appeared to be a sign that this streak had ended, but if it’s to be replaced by a different sort of one dimensional signing policy then it’s for the birds and we very well might end up no better off for it. I would be less concerned about this possibility if there weren’t obvious issues in our way, if it didn’t look like stockpiling players in such a way as it’ll give us problems.
I want every good player we can get at this club.
But how often can we visit the same well, and how much trouble do we really want to buy for ourselves when the Asian Cup comes around?
Our entire forward line is already virtually certain to miss key games … if we’re now adding an iron man defensive midfielder to the list of guys we have to do without then I’d say that’s a scenario we might well come to regret somewhere down the line.