Celtic’s three priorities for final hours of transfer window

Celtic’s three priorities for final hours of the transfer window…

Celtic supporters have three separate priorities going into the closing stages of the winter transfer window. We take a look at all three and try to evaluate what Celtic should be looking to achieve and the likelihood of club’s best endeavours yielding the desired outcome.

Brendan Rodgers, gives a thumbs-up at full-time following the team’s victory in the Cinch Scottish Premiership match against theRangers at Celtic Park on December 30, 2023. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

1. Bringing in quality signings as requested by Brendan Rodgers

The Celtic manager has talked about the squad needing four quality additions to strengthen the squad and ensure that the Scottish Premiership title is retain in this the most important campaign ever. That’s not an over exaggeration because with the reformatting of the Champions League the Scottish Premiership winners this season are looking at a cash bonanza or around £60m.

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic scores his team’s only goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on September 03, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic are currently five points ahead of challengers theRangers but the latest Ibrox club has a game in hand. There are two more Glasgow Derbies to come this season, the next one at Ibrox at the beginning of April and then the final one of this campaign at Celtic Park after the split. Celtic have won both Derbies so far this season – 1-0 back in September and 2-1 at Celtic Park in December, with Japanese striker Kyogo trying his luck for the Celtic support on bet365 by scoring the winner in both matches against theRangers.

Kyogo gets the winner against theRangers at Celtic Park on 30 December 2023

So far Celtic have confirmed the  signing of one player in this window, spending £3m to sign German winger Nicolas Kuhn from Austrian side Rapid Vienna with his search for a striker leading him to Norwich for the as yet unannounced loan deal for Irish international striker Adam Idah, with the hunt for a left back and perhaps even a goalkeeper looks like going to the wire.

Nicolas Kühn – Celtic’s £3m Januari signing from Rapid Vienna, photo Celtic FC.

Owen Beck was strongly tipped to make the move from Liverpool to Celtic. The left-back had been on loan at Dundee where he caught Celtic’s eye, but was recalled amid an injury crisis at Anfield. That eased but last Sunday Beck came off the bench in the closing stages of the match, thus ruling out a move to Celtic in this window. The rules state that a player can only play for two clubs in one season.  Liverpool rubbed salt into the Celtic wound by sending Beck back to Dundee for the rest of this season. Maybe he’ll be one Celtic will bring in this summer?

26th July 2023 Dens Park, Dundee, Viaplay Cup , Dundee versus Dumbarton Owen Beck of Dundee during the warm up Photo ActionPlus David Young

So will Rodgers get at least one more quality signing in this window and if not does he have enough to deliver the main target, the Scottish Premiership title and the cherry on the cake, the Scottish Cup?

2. Retaining the top players in the squad amid considerable interest from England and around Europe

It’s fair to say that Denmark’s International midfielder Matt O’Riley is having an outstanding season at Celtic where he is on course to scoop the major Player of the Year awards. The former MK Dons midfielder has reached double figures in both goals scored and assists and crucially has been a stand-out in this season’s Champions League, where he caught the eye of Atletico Madrid’s legendary manager Diego Simeone.

Matt O’Riley has attracted interest from Spain and England. Photo Imago

Sky Sports broke the news this week that Atletico had formally contacted Celtic and submitted a bid for O’Riley and the Daily Mail reported that numerous English Premier League sides are about to enter the bidding for one of the hottest targets around European football in this transfer window.

Cameron Carter-Vickers during the UEFA Champions League match between Celtic and SS Lazio at Celtic Park on October 04, 2023 Photo GreigCowie Sportsphoto/APL

Cameron Carter-Vickers is another top performer at Celtic. The Big Strong Man has had a stop start season due to injury but is clearly the best defender at the club and so important to how Celtic play. There has been reports that the American international central defender is wanted by both West Ham and Brentford and that would be a huge loss to Celtic, who reacted by opening up contract extension talks with the player. These talks resulted in a new long term deal being signed ahead of last weekend’s game against Ross County. CCV started but the good news ended there for Celtic fans as the American international has suffered another injury setback.

Celtic v Buckie Thistle – Liel Abada in action during the Scottish Cup match at Celtic Park on Sunday January 21, 2024. Photo Andrew Milligan

Liel Abada was injured in early September while away on international duty with Israel. He had just signed a contract extension at Celtic, as indeed is the case with the aforementioned Matt O’Riley. Abada had his first start since returning from injury at the weekend against Highland minnows Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup, where he received a tremendous reception from the Celtic support.

However the Green Brigade’s ongoing support for the people of Palestine means that mischief-making in the Israeli media are participating in a smear campaign against Celtic to get Abada to leave Celtic. Brendan Rodgers will do all he can to man-manage the player who is very popular with the support despite what the troublemakers say.

These three players are top performers and it is absolutely crucial that all three are retained and that a definite for CCV and almost certainly happening for the other two.

3. Reducing the overall size of the Celtic squad which Brendan Rodgers has already stated is far too big at the moment

Work has been done on this already with four players heading out the door. Yosuke Ideguchi signed for J-League Champions Vissel Kobe for around £1m, Nat Phillips returned to Liverpool after a short term loan, Korean midfielder Kwon Hyeuk-Gyu has gone out on loan to St Mirren and full-back Adam Montgomery has joined Motherwell on loan, but got injured in training after making his debut and is now back at Celtic for rehab. Others such as David Turnbull (a £2m target for Cardiff City), Mikey Johnston (West Brom, loan) and veteran winger James Forrest (Ayr Utd, loan) could all secure deals ahead of the window closing. Marco Tilio has also concluded a deal to return to his former club Melbourne City on loan until the end of the season.

Celtic’s Korean midfielder Kwon Hyeuk-Gyu has joined St Mirren on loan until the end of the season

Former Celtic captain Scott Brown who last week was appointed as the new manager at Scottish Championship side Ayr Utd, is looking for a few favours ahead of the window closing. That could suit Brendan Rodgers down to the ground, so expect a few players to be heading to Somerset Park before the window closes, with Ayrshire Bhoy James Forrest a possible candidate.

Essentially Celtic will probably have wanted to get goalkeeper Ben Siegrist, defenders Alexandro Bernabei, Yuki Kobayashi and possibly Gustaf Lagerbielke sold or going out in loan in this window. Add to that list James McCarthy – who was linked with a move to Greece but could also do a job for Broony in Ayr’s midfield

Marco Tilio is heading back to former club Melbourne in this window.

Marco Tilio is away with the Socceroos at the Asian Cup and is heading back to Melbourne when that’s over on a loan move and Mikey is set to join English Championship side West Brom as they look to make the play-offs for the Premier League. Both wingers would benefit from these loan moves.

If Celtic can shift most of these squad players out the door it would be beneficial to all parties.

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  1. “If Celtic can shift most of these squad players out the door it would be beneficial to all parties.” Utter bollocks it might benefit the players it might make the managers day to day job easier but it doesn’t benefit the most important people , US the fans ,several of these players ( Turnbull , Johnson , Lagerbielke )have already scored important goals this season , the only real benefit is financial , who does that suit ?

  2. The club have driven a giant wedge between themselves, the manager & most importantly the supporters with all this miserly dithering!

    They’ve literally driven people mad with this nonsense!

    Supporter’s give them huge amounts of money every year solely to improve the team, not to build up a bank balance!

    …and why the hell are we shopping in England!? Their worst players earn more than our best despite being nowhere near their level; it’s like having money to spend on a weeks shopping but instead you blow it on a night out & a takeaway!

    Something has to give…