Ange Postecoglou stood on the Celtic Park pitch in the midst of the title trophy celebrations and emphatically announced Celtic would be back, bigger and better when the new season came around.
And Chris Sutton writing in his Daily Record column today, believes the footballing department working in tandem with a club hierarchy who are emphatically backing the manager’s vision, means the £17m spent on strengthening the squad has Celtic are building from a position of strength, and ensuring the promises made by Postecoglou in May can be delivered.
“Celtic have made a £17 million statement. On the back of last season’s title win, I felt it was imperative that the club built from a position of strength. Don’t sit still. Don’t rest on laurels.’
“Full marks to them so far. They have blasted out of the transfer blocks with impressive investment.
“It’s sometimes easy in the footballing world just to toss figures around. But to have outlaid that amount of cash by the first Saturday in July means the two key departments of Celtic are working excellently.
“The footballing department with Ange Postecoglou and his recruitment staff are really on-point here. Identifying areas quickly, and the hierarchy of the club are also doing their bit to support their boss. Taking his visions and funding them.”
There is no doubting Celtic have splashed the cash this summer – let’s be honest who would have said they had 100% belief Michael Nicholson would be permitted to spend the money to bring both Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota to Celtic this summer?
Past experience meant many of us would have assumed at £6m plus apiece we’d be lucky to see one of those players turn temporary loan spells into permanent contracts. Instead, possibly buoyed by the managers track record already in the transfer market, Celtic have fronted the money needed for a title defence and for a tilt at the Champions’ League group stages.
And Sutton certainly doesn’t believe Celtic are finished yet claiming bullishly ‘more are needed and will follow’ as he outlines the need for a holding midfielder and defensive reinforcements.
“As I said on these pages a fortnight ago, Postecoglou needs to find a midfielder who can offer defensive cover to his centre backs. An enforcer, if you like. You know that with the likes of Vinicius Souza on the radar, the situation is being addressed.’
Christopher Jullien’s move to Schalke fell through, but the fact Celtic had agreed a loan deal and the Frenchman travelled to Germany for talks tells you he is not seen as part of the planning. That means another centre-back is on the agenda. More recruits are on the way and Celtic are doing this right.”
Sutton also believes Celtic’s early moves in the transfer market is a case of learning from a rival who chose to stand still last summer when Celtic were in disarray – and believes the current club playing out of Ibrox are now repenting at leisure as the League trophy sits in the Parkhead trophy room. And whilst Celtic can count on Champions League money, and set about their transfer business accordingly, theRangers are in a more precarious position when it comes to budgeting, with Champions League qualifiers still to be navigated before they can consider any significant purchases.
“(the)Rangers took criticism in some quarters for not strengthening when in pole position 12 months and they are paying the price for that now with no Premiership trophy in the cupboard and not having guaranteed Champions League to bank on with qualifiers to negotiate.’
‘Postecoglou and Celtic earned the right to have that upper hand and you have to say, that at this point, they are doing all the right things to make it count. The manager said at the end of the season that Celtic would be back this bigger and better because they never stop.’
‘And, of course, you can only make proper and fulsome judgements at the end of a window. But early transfer signs are that Postecoglou and the club will deliver on his promise.”
Sutton is right to add a note of caution at the end there. Celtic are in a great position, and both the money men and the football department seem for now to be on the same page. But there remains work to be done and the manager certainly has other targets in mind and will need further backing.
But it’s so far so good at Celtic when it comes to the club’s transfer business. If we can maintain that momentum and supply the manager with the two or three other players he desires, Celtic could be in a position of real strength when the title defence begins and that Champions League music rings around Celtic Park.