Brendan Rodgers questions whether best players have been replaced

By David Walton

January 13, 2019

Brendan Rodgers has again appeared to have a dig at the board, as he questioned whether his best players have been replaced.

Since he joined, Rodgers has suffered losing the likes of Moussa Dembele, Stuart Armstrong, and Patrick Roberts. Three big-name players from his regular match-day squad.

Not one of them has been replaced in any of the transfer windows since departing. Odsonne Edouard was signed for a club-record £9million, but he was already at the club the previous season, leaving Celtic light up top.

Armstrong, meanwhile, has only been replaced through the emergence of Ryan Christie.

Moussa Dembele’s move to Lyon left Celtic light up top during the first half of the season (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

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And Rodgers has once again asked the question as he spoke about what winning the title would mean to him. Speaking in the Daily Record, Rodgers said the following:

“The standard we’ve set has opened the eyes of other clubs to improve and be better.

“But for us, it’s all about ourselves. It doesn’t mean we’ve dropped our own standards.

“We’ve lost big players and the argument is, have we replaced them? If we go on to win the title this year, which is the plan, it won’t be any different or any more important than the other ones”

Another tinge of frustration?

In the past, Rodgers has certainly been guilty of bringing the board’s lack of spending into the media spotlight. This was particularly notable after the summer-saga involving John McGinn.

And whilst this is hardly him slamming the board, there’s clearly frustration there again. Rodgers evidently believes that the club haven’t done all they can to replace the key players left. Otherwise, why say it in the first place?

Peter Lawwell has to deliver on a right-back and centre-back in this window (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The onus is once again on the board to deliver in this window. A top replacement for Mikael Lustig and another centre-back to allow Dedryck Boyata to leave. That would signal success from them, so long as the replacements are of a good enough standard.

As we’ve seen this season, the decision to not replace Dembele has had a rippling effect even to last month’s Glasgow derby. Celtic have occasionally had to play without a recognised striker, and a failure to recruit a third is the reason why.

Recently, Timothy Weah and Vakoun Issouf Bayo have joined the club. That should hopefully solve the striker-crisis for now.

But Rodgers can’t be left frustrated when the window closes. His patience, if he is, will surely be close to running out.