It Is Way Too Late For Celtic To Check Out The Free Transfer Market.

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There has been quite a bit of discussion in the media of late – idle speculation mostly – that our club or the one across town could go into the free transfer market and sign someone on freedom of contract. The talk has mostly been about us looking for a left back.

I don’t think this was ever a legitimate stratagem. It certainly isn’t now. The time for signing free transfers is in the summer. Signing them in January is largely pointless. Signing one in February would be lunacy. None of these guys has played football in weeks, perhaps months, and even getting them match fit would take an inordinate amount of time.

Even those players who have tried to keep themselves fit enough that they aren’t basically starting from zero are facing an uphill battle.

Because, of course, match fit is entirely different from just being able to get up and down the pitch without collapsing. There are issues of match sharpness too, and it is nearly impossible to reach that peak in the time we’ve got left; this is why teams play games in pre-season. Deep into a campaign it would be crazy.

As I said previously, there is something almost liberating when a team knows who and what it has to rely on for the rest of the season and there are no magic bullet solutions to that.

Our window for making improvements to this squad is closed, like it or not. There is nobody out there who is going to come in for us and do a job now … all the guys currently without clubs are in that position for good reasons. To go for one of them would look like desperation and it would undermine, severely, the guys we already have in the squad.

So whilst I understand the attraction of combing through the free transfer market looking for that player who could come in and solve our left back problem, there’s a reason I laugh uproariously when I read that the Ibrox club may be tempted by the likes of Dwight Gayle; the idea is bonkers, but just the kind of bonkers they go for.

But when was the last time you remember any major club moving for a player this late in the day? I can’t remember a single example of it, and certainly not at Celtic.

We haven’t even properly dabbled in the summer market for Bosman’s, not for a long time, and there’s a reason for that too; these guys are free to talk to clubs in January and a lot of them do exactly that. Those who don’t want to are waiting to see who might be interested in the summer, and they know there will be an auction for their services, and so they won’t come cheap. The rest are older players, approaching the end of their careers.

The bottom line is that any player worth signing and who was available free has a club already; there is nobody out there who would notably enhance our squad and we can say that quite comfortably because if they existed we’d know already and we’d certainly have made a decent offer. More to the point, someone else would have.

This door is closed. I’d rather see us promote some academy player than explore this option. That will have more obvious benefits both in the immediate and longer term.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    It would as you rightly say be lunacy to sign someone in February…

    But lunacy (with transfer strategy anyway) is what Celtic do a lot of the time –

    If we disgustingly start to lag behind Sevco in the league Daddy Lawwell, Nicholson and Sonny Lawwell might just try it to placate The Celtic Support…

    And equally should Sevco (hopefully) start to lag behind then undoubtedly they would do it with the most bling signing from the free market to placate their hoards !

  • Davie says:

    We have better players at Celtic than are available on free transfers.
    I’d much rather play our youngsters who have celtic in their Hearts than a freebie wanting a pay packet.

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