Rodgers to shuffle the pack – A peek through the summer transfer window

The season is drawing to a close, we have two home games in the league and then the Scottish Cup Final next Saturday to go. Celtic are champions, for the seventh successive season and will complete another domestic treble if they beat Motherwell at Hampden.

Looking beyond Hampden and Brendan Rodgers yesterday confirmed that plans are already well underway for next season – read HERE.

The manager and his team are busy planning for the next campaign and in particular the Champions League qualifiers that guarantee continued dominance in the domestic game. So it’s fair to say that he is going to shuffle the pack as far as the playing squad is concerned over the summer.

At this stage there are a few question marks over the future involvement of some players as their loans come to an end and for those that their lack of game-time may have seen them earmarked for sale by the management team.

In the goalkeeper position, Brendan has confirmed that he plans to sign Dundee loanee Scott Bain in the coming weeks and the player has stated on the record that he wants to sign for Celtic. With Craig Gordon out with a slight knee injury, Rodgers automatically looked to Bain as his understudy and that could mean the end of the road for Dorus de Vries.

The veteran Dutch keeper has never really impressed at Celtic and despite signing an extension last summer when he had offers to return to England, he may decide that he should move on at the end of the season.

In defence, Marvin Compper, Jozo Simunovic and Cristian Gamboa all could be headed towards the exit after failing to establish themselves as first team regulars.

Compper was a January signing from RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga but an injury in Dubai, a shaky debut versus Morton and poor aptitude to the Irishman’s vigorous training saw the German’s game time limited. If the gossip is to be believed he has been underwhelming in training and has NOT impressed Rodgers who demands much more from his players every day.

If this is the case the the scouting process has gone badly wrong in this instance.

Simunovic, contracted to 2021 after signing a new deal this season, has looked a shadow of the player he was last term and was particularly poor in that 4-0 surrender to Hearts at Tynecastle in December. He has been overlooked since his red card at Ibrox in the 3-2 win and all parties may conclude that if his ‘dream move’ to Burnley is still on the table, he should head down there to try his luck in the Premier League.

Gamboa is the club’s forgotten men, you’d be forgiven if you thought he had left the club but he is still there – with two years to go. Maybe an impressive World Cup will bring a suitor his way as he enters his last year at Celtic Park. Celtic are playing with a more defensive set up at right back to allow Kieran Tierney to press forward so Gamboa, who is also an attacking wing back, isn’t really suited to filling in for Lustig when he is out of the team. It has been telling that in these instances Rodgers has preferred to play Jack Hendry since his arrival at the end of the January window.

Dedryck Boyata is another player who could be off. His contract will be entering its final year and he is on the record as saying that he is in no rush to sign a new deal. Matters will come to a head in the summer and it is fair to say that Brendan Rodgers rates the big Belgian, who scored an outstanding goal at Tynecastle on Sunday, and would like him to stay.

It is going to come down to what the player wants to do and if that means moving on then so be it.

Calvin Miller is likely to be loaned out, probably to Tommy Wright at St Johnstone. The player is no closer to establishing himself in the first team and could do with the first team experience – look what the loan spell at Kilmarnock did for Kristoffer Ajer.

In midfield, Celtic’s priority is to sign up Tom Rogic on a long term deal. Rogic has been injury prone in his time at Celtic but when he is in the team he is a joy to watch. His pass on Sunday for Celtic’s second goal was a thing of beauty and who will ever forget his winner in the Scottish Cup Final last season?

Rogic is off to the World Cup in Russia with Australia when the season ends and an impressive tournament may have plenty of clubs knocking at our door looking to sign the Wizard of Oz. Southampton have already been credited with an interest but the player understands that the style of football Celtic plays and our dominance in the domestic game, means that Celtic really is Paradise for the player.

If Celtic’s offer is tidy enough then he word is he is likely to sign up. Fingers crossed.

Stuart Armstrong is in a similar situation although his Celtic star is perhaps not shining so brightly this time around after a season that has been plagued by injury.

Armstrong was linked with a move away last season, Rodgers gave the 26-year-old an improved two year deal which takes him up to 2019. Effectively this was a one year extension that means we are back in the same position we were in last time around.

Last season Armstrong was not among the top earners, having joined from Dundee United, Celtic’s offer was a huge improvement at the time but fell well short of the money other senior players were on last time around. Rodgers brokered a deal that would keep the player at Parkhead for this season but it is difficult to see where this one is going to end up.

Will Celtic up their offer again, despite Armstrong having a stop-start season?

Is there the interest in the player that was definitely there last summer, mostly from bottom end Premier League clubs who have subsequently changed their managers?

Armstrong has always wanted to play down south, so if his agent can get him a deal he’ll likely be for the off.

Whether or not Charly Musonda will complete his loan deal at Celtic remains to be seen but in reality his first half season at the club has been underwhelming to say the least.

Scott Allan will leave Celtic to sign for Neil Lennon’s Hibs, which could be part of a deal to bring John McGinn to Celtic. But Rodgers is an admirer of former Celt Dylan McGeough, who popped in for a chat at Lennoxtown a few weeks ago. He is a free agent in the summer.

Celtic will also try to get the deal with Manchester City for Paddy Roberts over the line – second time lucky. This will involve a club record feel £10million being paid, for the player who has also had a frustrating campaign due to injuries.

The 21-year-old won’t get into the City team and Guardiola, who prevented a summer move to Celtic last summer, is less likely to be a kill-joy this time around.

Eboue Kouassi is another player who might benefit from a loan spell to work with another manager (Neil Lennon?) to get him game time and experience within the Scottish game.

In attack, Celtic should complete the signing of Odsonne Edouard for around £4.5m plus add-ons shortly. Moussa Dembele, who has never asked to leave Celtic and wouldn’t be dismissive if a new contract was offered to him, is likely to be sold if a club meets Celtic’s valuation. One one bid has ever been received for Dembele – believed to have been from Brighton – and it was way short of what Celtic would be looking for.There must be a temptation on everyone’s part to keep Moussa around for another crack at the Champions League before accepting a January bid?

Leigh Griffiths is expected to sign a new deal at the club, he wants to sign a long term deal to keep him at Celtic. Meanwhile, Nadir Ciftci should be allowed to leave the club permanently.

There are a number of players going nowhere, Gordon, Tierney, Ajer, Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Sinclair and these are the core players that Brendan will build the rest of his plans around.

Overall, Celtic must build from a position of strength as we look to complete a double treble and continue our dominance in the Scottish game.



The Celtic Star, since we named these games against Rangers as Beautiful Sunday, have decided to release a very special, limited edition t-shirt, in a choice of colours – green and white. Have a look at the designs and if you would like to order these are available to buy now at


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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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