Damn The “Profile.” There Are Reasons Why Celtic Will Sign Experience In This Window.

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Yesterday, I put up my article on Ryan Fraser and in light of some of what I’ve been reading online in the past week or two – the incredible number of posts accusing our club of penny pinching and going backwards and question Rodgers – I was dismayed but not surprised at the negativity of some of the comments on it. And amused at some of the dafter ones.

“He’s no Jota,” was a familiar refrain from people who had never heard of Jota two years ago when he was a Benfica reserve, and when Ryan Fraser was playing in the most watched league in the world every week.

“He’s injury prone and doesn’t get games right now,” was another frequent complaint from people who’d have Kieran Tierney back in a heartbeat.

But more than anything else was the idea that he doesn’t “fit the profile.”

If the profile means young, cheap and relatively unheard of then he doesn’t fit it, you’re right. But that’s the profile so many, many of our fans have been moaning about all throughout the summer.

Fraser would not be cheap, not in relative terms, not in terms of his wages, and he is certainly not an unknown or any kind of project signing. On the contrary.

One person said he wouldn’t enhance our squad.

But that by its very definition is clearly illogical; a squad is a group of players, and adding a player in a position where we need at least a backup to the current starter, a player with his CV, would very obviously enhance the squad. If you want to argue that he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter that’s worth debating, but I can’t debate nonsense and won’t even try.

The profile we buy to isn’t a catch-all and every year that I’ve been watching Celtic we’ve signed players who were exceptions to the rule of whatever blueprint we were following. When Rodgers came in the first time he signed Kolo Toure and Scott Sinclair to fill out a squad that was young and hungry but lacked those sorts of personalities.

We’re not talking here about Ibrox-style bling, someone whose reputation exceeds his talent, someone like Aaron Ramsey whose claim to fame was that he was one of the most high-profile Bosman’s of all time when he went to Juventus from Arsenal and quadrupled his salary.

But in football terms, that turned out to be what many of us said it was; a joke, a comedy act, a guy here on holiday and who contributed nothing but a penalty miss which will be on many a Celtic fan’s highlight reel for the rest of our lives.

Celtic has been down that road before, and we all remember some of the names; Juninho, Wright, Ljundberg, Gravesen, both of the Keane’s and on and on. To say we had mixed fortunes is an understatement.

You’d have taken Robbie Keane on a longer deal, as you would have Craig Bellamy, but even their names are synonymous with awful campaigns … Bellamy was there on Black Sunday. Both Robbie and Roy Keane played in awful Celtic sides and their signings were akin to acts of utter desperation … there was no thought process behind them.

I went through some of the reasons I could see why a deal for Fraser would be a good one.

A decent player, in a position where we require one, home grown and so ticking the UEFA box, and a lot of memories of watching him play where I thought “Yeah you’d be alright in a hooped shirt.” But there’s another one, of course, a corollary to all of them and it’s that he’s been playing at the top level in the game since he was in his early twenties and thus brings with him a level of experience that our younger players, in particular, would benefit from.

He is, in fact, this year’s Aaron Mooy and if you think that’s a daft comparison I suggest going back and reading the article I wrote at the time welcoming that deal … and the online storm of anger that we didn’t go out and sign “a big name” but instead brought in some 30 something who was past it and too slow and “not Celtic class.”

Some of us those same people are, I bet, not only decrying the possibility of signing Fraser but are furious that we haven’t gone out and spent a fortune replacing the Aussie international they, with their years of football wisdom, had never wanted us to sign in the first place.

And I am as guilty of this as anyone, of course, because my own reaction to the hiring of Ange Postecoglou was every bit as parochial and ignorant and I doubled down on the stupidity in an infamous tweet to a guy defending the appointment by asking him how he’d feel if we were also signing players from the J League, a prospect I felt at the time was not far short of scouring the lower leagues of England and elsewhere.

I trust the process now. Because I’ve seen it work. We all have.

We brought in the right manager – the subject of my article earlier today – and he will get the players he wants. Which is another thing people are banging on about; “When do we see the Rodgers signings?” Well, let’s presume that we are interested in Fraser. As he doesn’t’ fit the profile, it would be a fair assumption to say that he was most definitely a “Rodgers signing.”

Just not one that a lot of people want.

Which has already started with certain people expressing their “doubts” over the manager himself.

For a deal that, by the way, is still hypothetical and a maybe, and could in fact be nothing more than agents’ mischief. It is enough at times to make me wonder if in fact all we in the blogosphere are doing is sticking our fingers in the dyke whilst all around us the dam walls spring fresh leaks.

Yeah, we’ve diluted the media’s influence to shape negative perceptions about our club … but we can do nothing to stem the runaway imaginations of people who maintain their love for Celtic whilst continuing to believe that it gets everything wrong.

I’ll trust the manager, and the process, whoever is brought in.

But I can see already that there’s a good case to be made for bringing in experience, and so when I read that certain signing targets can be ruled out because they don’t fit the expected blueprint I want to laugh because what would fit in better with what we’re trying to do than to go out and sign someone who has been at the top level in football for nearly a decade, and thus can handle the expectations of playing Champions League football?

There is more to credit this idea than just ticking some boxes on the UEFA squad registration list for that competition, and whilst I don’t know if the story is true any more than I know if the half dozen other names in the media today are accurate, I can tell you that I will be behind the guy if he signs and will consider it a sensible piece of business.

It is time we all became a little calmer.

This window is not going to go the way all of us want it to.

Whatever business we do between now and the closing of it, there will be doubts and there will be questions and there will be anger. We can’t fill every position every fan wants to see filled and we won’t even try to … the squad is large as it is and there comes a point when you’re just bloating it for the sake of being seen to make signings.

Some think we need a new striker. Some a new midfielder enforcer. Some think it’s a left back. Some want a right back. Some want a new keeper. Some people want at least one more defender. Everyone has a view, but those inside the club have responsibilities which transcend those views, and a limit over which we can’t and won’t go.

The club also has spending priorities above and beyond the first team squad. We have major infrastructure changes in the offing, and those aren’t cheap. The desire by some to see a “net spend” will not be permitted to over-ride those things.

But whatever else we do, I expect at least one signing which does go against the accepted wisdom and which does fall outside the blueprint and the profile.

Because when we get to the Champions League we do need some older, wiser heads who have played at a level like that and who can act as calming influences when things are not going according to plan.

Is Ryan Fraser one of them?

Maybe and maybe not … but the idea isn’t as daft as a lot of people would have you believe. The signing of Aaron Mooy got just as much criticism, and we’re all pretty well agreed that it was an excellent piece of business.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right?

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  • Sav says:

    Good points made, I think he would be a quality addition.
    Don’t always agree with you but definitely do on this.

  • JimBhoy says:

    Reading a few articles today on Fraser has put me off the man. Seems a bit of a prickly character with fall outs with several managers for not getting regular game time. A player who believes he deserves more time at the expense of other more compliant team mates is not what I’d like in my squad.

    These issues are generally known in management circles so too much of a disruption risk for me.

    Brendan knows what he needs, LB, Keeper for sure, maybe even a loanee striker/winger. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 3 players in and maybe 4 or 5 fringe players gone.

    • Michael Collins says:

      A goalkeeper is surely a first priority. Even suppose Joe Hart was still in his prime. What happens if he gets injured? Would we like Siegrist or Bain in goals? These two are nowhere near Celtic class, so we do need a new keeper pronto.

  • Gerry H says:

    He’s certainly an upgrade on Maeda

  • John S says:

    Ryan Fraser is a good player, he’s got a year or two left in him yet but would be an expensive solution to a short-term issue; not even an issue really if ‘fringe’ players can take their opportunities. He’s Scottish, though, could this be a factor ?

  • Paddybhoy67 says:

    Has Fraser ever played in a champions league game?
    Has he refused to play on artificial surfaces?

  • Frank says:

    can we do a swop deal Fraser for McCarthy

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Aye – some big names there that definitely flopped and didn’t find their Paradise at Parkhead…

    Bellamy – Bloody Hell – I’m still traumatised by his missed cfances at Fir Park that Black sabbath –

    Still haunting me (and many other Hoops fan’s) is that fateful day…

  • somehow says:

    The squad is no better equipped to compete in the UCL than it was last season.Probably less so with Jota leaving and BR as Manager. One thing is certain Rodgers will not be cut as much slack as Ange was after his start.

  • Johnno says:

    Depends upon how you want to define experience James?
    Plenty of experience throughout this celtic squad to keep Scottish dominance intact this Season, with the know how of what is required in doing.
    The extra squad depth in place already will help matters in the long run.
    CL is another matter all the same.
    Still fairly raw throughout the squad at this level, but hopefully the experience gained from last season will help many within the squad this season?
    A new experience for a good few, and still to early to say if some are actually ready for this increased level of football?
    Regardless, we should be in a far better position next season, than this one, yet I’m still hoping for improvement upon last season all the same.
    Of course Fraser fits the profile required with the experience gained within the EPL, especially when you look at how many big names within the Scottish game at the time to how much they struggled within the EPL?
    Fraser can’t be accused of that, but with noise about his attitude would be a concern, if true of course.
    Getting ready made players for CL level is always going to be a longshot in money terms, so development of players to reach that level is foremost for a club like ourselves.
    The 8 Scottish players rule will remain a hindrance for the club, way beyond this season, as it remains highly unlikely we will ever achieve 8 Scottish based players worthy of being classed as a CL player, all at the same time required?
    Fraser imo could still help us out enormously this season in that regards imo.
    A couple of others with the extra experience at a higher level wouldn’t go a miss either, but will not be easy to find them either, with a boards liking of putting a big profit margin upon players moreso than what they could provide towards the club

  • Fun time frankie says:

    RF signing not a problem but not even with Newcastle paying 60,50or even 40%of this salary if he was really interested in playing for us then he should be willing to take a pay cut,who much cash do these people need ,and how much tax do you want to paying

  • John L says:

    Aaron mooy was playing football when we signed him, where as Ryan has not kicked a ball in ernest for about 10 months, I think he would spend more time on the treatment table than the park. Sorry, not for me.

  • Fraser Nicholson says:

    Agree with all of this, was saying the same re Mooy. Only thing I would say is that Roy Keane did not play in a poor side. Alongside Petrov, Lennon, Naka, Maloney, McGeady etc. (Clyde result notwithstanding)

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Opinions, Opinions that’s part and parcel of following your football team. In this instance I agree with you James, RF is worth taking a punt on, he’s a player I’ve always admired since his days with Aberdeen.
    Quite honestly we all have opinions but the only one’s that matter are BR and his scouting network. I’m looking forward to 1st Sept when the transfer window is closed and we know the make up of the squad. BR can then get on with managing and coaching the players available for the season ahead.
    Like all managers he will then be judged on results.

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