Celtic’s quest for quality signings and what that looks like

What exactly is a ‘quality’ player in the eyes of Brendan Rodgers and the Celtic support?

The term ‘quality’ has been spoken of many times by Brendan Rodgers. We as supporters are also craving some ‘qualit’y instead of the usual ‘project’ players we were mainly served up in the summer window.

But that begs the question, what is our idea of quality? Quality players usually come with a hefty price tag and salary. Something our transfer structure simply won’t allow us to do.

Nicolas Kühn of FC Bayern München II poses during the team presentation on September 14, 2020 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Much has been made of the pending signing of Nicolas Kühn Austrian side from Rapid Wien. Some supporters are turning their noses up at his imminent arrival just because the fee is around the £3 million mark. But none of us know much about the German, so how can we properly judge? You can’t really describe him as a ‘project’ player either as he’s 24 and a first team regular for the Austrian side.

So to write him off straight away is a bit harsh. Obviously we don’t know much about him either, but did we know much about Jota or Liel Abada before they arrived at Celtic Park? Or Kyogo or Reo Hatate? No would be the answer.

Australia’s midfielder Riley McGree (R) and Vietnam’s midfielder Phong Hong Duy Nguyen watch the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying round Group B football match between Vietnam and Australia at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on September 7, 2021. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Even Matt O’Riley who cost just £1.5 million from MK Dons and he was you will remember the second choice behind Socceroos midfielder Riley McGree who knocked Ange Postecoglou back because he wanted to play in the Premier League and Middlesbrough were his best bet for that dream to come true. How did that work out for McGree?

Matt O’Riley of Milton Keynes Dons gestures during the Sky Bet League One match between Gillingham and Milton Keynes Dons at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on March 02, 2021 (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Meanwhile Matt O’Riley swapped MK Dons for Celtic, has won five major honours, played in the Champions League group stages over two campaigns and broke into the Denmark team and he’s now worth at least ten times more than Celtic paid for him. Maybe as much as twenty times but it will be this summer before  we’re likely to know for sure.

Would we have described the boy coming in from MK Dons in January 2022 as a quality addition? Probably not, more a project but how wrong we’d have been.

All those names were the work of hard and due diligent scouting. Something that’s just as important as how much money you do and don’t have to spend.

Matt O’Riley of Celtic poses for a photo with the PlayStation Player Of The Match award after the draw in the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic FC and Atletico Madrid at Celtic Park Stadium on October 25, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jan Kruger – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Celtic shop in markets we can afford. We will never be able to compete with the so-called big five leagues in Europe due to their financial muscle which is achieved via substantially larger media rights.  Even sides in the lower reaches of the EPL and the Championship are able to outbid us financially. That’s the honest truth. So Celtic need to box clever and that also means taking some risks, some signings won’t work out and we just have to accept that.

We will never attract top quality players while we are in Scottish football, maybe the odd loan deal, but that’s it. We are shopping for a value and I can’t see that changing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sign decent players far from it. Matt O’Riley for example.

Just an Ordinary Bhoy



About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

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