After a season to forget we could all be forgiven for having a footballing hangover accompanied by more than a few residual hang-ups when it comes to individuals and club officials, those who messed up what was expected to be a historic season. Yet when you’re looking for a cure for the 20/21 headache it is easier to embrace the future and consign the past to the record books when those charged with rebuilding things start to show signs they are delivering.
Today’s announcement of the signing of Japanese international striker Kyogo Furuhashi is more than simply a hair of the dog curer to clear cloudy heads, it is a shot in the arm to a support in need of an injection of optimism.
This is a player who has already served his apprenticeship, a forward who is on an upward trajectory and has just committed the peak years of his career to Celtic. For a long time that hasn’t been the Celtic way.
Now it appears we are striking a welcome balance between bringing through our own, buying up young promising talent from down south with a view to developing them, young prospects from abroad looking to challenge themselves further and put themselves in a European shop window, and now players such a Furuhashi who appear to be the finished article.
This is Celtic’s second signing of the week on the back of Liel Albada’s unveiling on Wednesday. It is the third of Ange Postecoglou’s tenure following Osaze Urhoghide’s purchase from Sheffield Wednesday, and with pre-contract signing Liam Shaw also impressing at the Welsh training camp belief that Celtic are both doing and mean business is high. With a deal for Rubin Kazan central defender and Swedish international Carl Starfelt deal also appearing to be imminent the areas of the squad Ange Postecoglou stated he needed ‘two days ago’ in his first press conference are being addressed.
It appears new CEO Dom McKay is backing his man as he said he would, and as the promised cause for surprise and delight under his watch now materialises there will be few who wouldn’t add optimistic to their feelings today.
There will always be an erring on the side of caution with Celtic until deals are completed, after all we still shudder at the time wasted and opportunity lost after the collapse of the Eddie Howe deal, or the last-minute medical that initially postponed the David Turnbull deal from Motherwell. There is still no doubt further reinforcements will have to arrive, particularly in the full back areas, yet you can’t score the winning goal until you grab the leveller and there are more than a few solid rumours that attempts to address the right full back position in particular are also advanced.
The business completed so far and the others we know are now well in progress is sending out a message that this rebuild is being taken as seriously by the club as it has been by the supporters, it indicates Ange Postecoglou is having genuine input on transfers and today’s Japanese signing indicates a real statement of intent.
There also appears to be a targeting now of a certain type of player rather than simply a footballer for a particular position. In the forward areas players who press defensively as well as having attacking attributes indicates a manager who wants signings who will not be rigid in particular positions and can move from wide areas to central positions and back. This bodes well for a fluency to our attacking play and a hunger to win the ball back if risks in possession don’t work out. That in itself is an exciting development, allied to the fact it looked clear from pre-season games the players were not only understanding Postecoglou’s style of play, the youngsters in particular have been embracing it.
The hangovers and hang ups of last season now start to feel like they are dissipating. Signings like we’ve had this week give everyone a lift from the stands to the dressing room.