My last article was about a player we’ve allegedly made a £4 million bid for. That comes from the media in Denmark. There’s an article that says there was genuine interest from our club which went as far as making an offer. Other reports suggest that the deal is actually close to completion and that it will go through. I can be sanguine about the idea either way.
I’m not convinced that this is the sort of signing Rodgers has prioritised but we do need a striker and if the board is spending £4 million on a player the manager isn’t particularly keen on, we’ll know that soon enough because the guy will barely get off the bench. If he’s one the manager wants, we’ll know that as well because it will be clear when he’s in the team.
There is a peculiar madness about our transfer policy in this window which is hard to credit.
But there are more stories in the media than just this one, and one of them is a case in point; the story of how we’ve “lost” the chance to sign Lyanco of Southampton, as he’s off on loan to a club in Dubai. There’s the height of his ambitions, and the limit of the interest that was shown in him from elsewhere. A guy doing that … why would we even have bothered?
There has not been a single concrete story indicating that we ever had an interest in this guy in the first place. This is not one we “missed out on.” In fact, he was offered to us by an agent and we passed, although we’re desperate to bring in a centre back.
The worst thing that our fans can do in the next few days is get crazy over transfer stories which had no merit in the first place, and that’s going to be most of them. The ones with teeth, you’ll know them instantly, because, like the Palma story, they will come out of nowhere and suddenly they’ll be everywhere. The mood music will be unmistakable.
There is a certain level of noise to the drumbeat about Kvistgaarden that is impossible to ignore. That’s what I mean when I say that the stories will come out of nowhere and suddenly be everywhere. Something is definitely happening there.
Others, we’ll be just as able to dismiss out of hand as nonsense.
This is going to be a crazy few days and I do not expect that we will get the number of players that some in the media claim we want.
There is a presumption that we’re going to target as many as five signings. I haven’t heard the manager utter those words, and so I can’t imagine where that idea has come from except that you look at the team and you can easily find five positions that need obvious improvements.
I think we do need to look at three in particular; defensive midfield, the forward position and central defence. Since we’re getting our winger on the left, I don’t have to include that.
That would be four players. The left back is one a lot of people have highlighted and you’ll notice I’m leaving that one out. The goalkeeper is one that we’ve all been discussing for ages. I think we could probably leave that one for this window as well.
Look, if you presume that we have a pressing need in both positions for the Champions League I won’t argue with you, but without a central midfield iron man that’s not going to matter anyway because we’re going to be absolutely done without one. To me, the central midfield hard man would cover a multitude of sins elsewhere in the team.
The striker, we need for backup although if Kvistgaarden does prove to be a genuine contender for the top spot, I would not cry myself to sleep with thoughts of seeing Kyogo on the bench. Obviously, the centre back on a short-term deal is critical and non-negotiable, and if we don’t get one in for that position serious questions will need to be answered.
Even if you’re looking at the squad in the way I just did you’ll notice that there are arguably six positions for which you can make a good argument, and this is why I keep on saying that literally nobody in the support is going to get the window they want, or to see all the positions filled that they think we genuinely need. It just won’t happen.
Right now, I genuinely don’t know what a “successful” window will look like, as so much time and so much goodwill has been utterly squandered in the way we’ve dithered and delayed and messed about and the way the manager has meekly chosen to accept it in spite of his own template being radically different from the players he’s been handed.
If we’ve got the striker deal just about over the line, I can cross that off my own “badly needed” list of priority signings. The central defender, we will get because I genuinely cannot see how we can afford not to. We may be surprised by how that ends up. I hear names being thrown around which I think can’t possibly be accurate, but which I’d take in a minute.
The one where I’d honestly consider the window a failure would be one I’ve banged the drum on so many times; the defensive midfielder. If we signed a guy in that role, along with those others – the winger, the striker and the centre back – I personally would have little to complain about, although I think the transfer policy is badly, badly in need of revising.
I know other people think the goalkeeper is the non-negotiable, but we can’t do everything in one window and the sign that we’re looking at a keeper – one of our current three moving on – isn’t there and so I don’t believe it’s considered mission critical.
But we lost Jota and have replaced him. We’re shipping out Ajeti, and so it makes sense to bring another forward in. We’re moving out Soro, and McCarthy, which frees up two slots in a crowded midfield selection pool … which is why I have hope yet that this is an area where we’re planning to make an addition. If we could get rid of Bernabei I think we’d do business for a left back without the least hesitation; maybe that’s going on behind the scenes.
Without going over old ground, and banging on about it, that we’re now set for a mad scramble to the wire is a symptom of the haphazard slightly crazy way we go about things at Celtic.
But actually, with the winger deal done and a striker quite possibly on the way I’m getting ready to be a bit happier than I was. I know we’ll get a centre back … which leaves me one role short of where I’ll be in a better frame of mind.
But not everyone is going to be happy, and the manager might well be one of them. At the end of the day, he only has himself to blame for that if it’s so, and come January he has to be a lot stronger in getting what he wants and needs.
That we’ll make signings in January is without question, but I expect this to be the last window we see for a while with so many ins and outs because honestly, at the end of last season I’d have said we needed maybe three additions to the first team with anything else depending on who left the club.
It would have meant spending a right few quid, but perversely it might have ended up being cheaper than whatever strategy we’re pursuing right now. That we look like finishing this window with ten or more signings is just mad, it’s completely bonkers and a symptom of something about the system which just won’t work … and we cannot continue doing it.