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Celtic’s Decision To Move On Oh Confirms That It’s Rodgers In The Driving Seat Now.

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Today there is the first rumbling of a real transfer story, one that involves an active negotiation, a bid which the selling party appears to accept and the very real possibility that it will get over the line.

Typically, for Celtic, the window opens not with a player about to sign but with one about to leave, and you know what? I’m pretty satisfied with that.

The player in question is Oh Hyeon-gyu, and that we actually might post a profit on the deal if it goes through and he signs for the Belgians of Genk might be the most surprising thing about it. Not that I don’t think he’s a decent enough player – he’s shown that in flashes – but still, I didn’t expect us to make money on a deal moving him on.

We really are pretty good at this stuff. Ibrox, take note.

Even when a deal very obviously hasn’t worked out, we can still turn players around for profit.

Oh was brought in to replace Giakoumakis, as one of the signings under Mark Lawwell.

Initially this showed promise, although it was perfectly plain right from the off that we had not replaced like with like as he very obviously wasn’t a natural goal scorer. Nevertheless, he seemed physically strong and capable of roughing up defenders … key assets.

Still, it seems obvious now that this should have been a source of disquiet for us all.

When you lose a penalty box predator, and especially one who had proved as adept at putting the ball in the back of the net as the big Greek was, you do want a like-for-like replacement, and this was clearly not that. He had precious few goals on his CV and he was so clearly a project signing that we probably gave it more benefit of the doubt than was justified.

At that point it was still not yet clear just how radical a departure from the first two transfer windows, under Ange, that Lawwell’s tenure was going to be. The summer had not been terribly promising as a start, but we had completed the two £6 million deals for Jota and Carter Vickers and that covered a multitude of sins.

But Oh was just such a radically different type of player from Giakoumakis, and it wasn’t apparent that Ange could fit him into his style.

Rodgers certainly didn’t know how to. A Celtic striker should score, first and foremost, and all the nice hold-up play and stuff matters not one bit if he can’t do the most fundamental thing, which is put the ball in the net regularly.

Nothing we saw from him suggested that he was going to be able to do that, no matter how much time we gave him to adapt.

All the way through the January window, with the Asian Cup looming, the feeling was that we were not looking so much for a striker who could see us through that spell if all our front men were away, but for someone who could come in and deputise for Kyogo or even challenge him for his place, which let’s be honest Oh was never going to do.

There was a clear feeling that if we did bring in a striker that Oh would be the one who suffered for it, because if we couldn’t find someone better than him, if we brought someone in who would either be competing for that number two slot or – God help us – sitting behind Oh as the backup to the backup we were in a lot of trouble if Kyogo got injured.

Adam Idah provided the stark contrast between the player we had and the player we needed, and that might seem harsh but it’s also accurate.

He was a lot like Oh in terms of his physicality and his ability to hold players off, but he was the epitome of Rodgers’ expressed need for “pace and power” but more than that, he could score goals and he did it on those days when it truly mattered.

From the moment he grabbed his first couple for us, the idea of having Oh back up front started to seem less and less appealing, and this isn’t the only blog to suggest that we sell him Oh during this window whether we bought Idah or not.

The thing is, this is the sort of move that shows you that Rodgers, after a season of taking stock and now with a full understanding of who can do it for him and who can’t, has made a number of key decisions and that his rebuild of this squad is now starting to gather pace.

He told us, in several different interviews and in that recent sit-down with Sky, that he thinks this is a transitional summer and that hints at big changes on the way … and as I’ve said previously, I don’t intend to let a single change he makes surprise me in the least.

By all accounts, Rodgers is in total control this summer.

He has made his power play, pushed aside those who were in his way and seized control of the football department. He’s got his assurances and now holds all the power he needs to drive his changes forward.

This might be the first real sign that his rebuild and restructuring is in progress, and hints at the scale of it even though this is a move we more or less expected.

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  • JimBhoy says:

    Good luck to the big guys as a striker he needs confidence and a good run in a team.

  • Jim M says:

    The money from Oh,s departure could be spent on signing Miovski , it’s something that should be done quickly, a back up plan in case Idah is unavailable, also if Idah is available, would get him signed too.

  • Ken Suttie says:

    I wish Celtic would get it’s finger out and make some important signings. Despite the success of last year and regardless of what the manager said, Celtic was well short of being a top side, and was very lucky on a few occasions (including the cup final).
    Rangers wasn’t that far behind Celtic and it has already made steps to improve the team, while the only movement talks from Celtic have been about players going out.
    However, I would like Celtic to look seriously at retaining youngsters who have the potential to be future stars, instead of selling them or giving them away to English clubs, as has happened in the past.

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