Celtic feature prominently in FIFA transfer report as scale of Ange rebuild is laid bare

By Euan Davidson

January 14, 2022

The sheer depth of the Celtic rebuild under Ange Postecoglou has been laid bare in a FIFA transfer report.

FIFA’s annual global transfer report has incredible scope. Football’s governing body pored over the details of 19,372 involving professionals and 35,367 involving amateur players [FIFA]. According to FIFA, 18,086 professional male players changed clubs, with “4,544 clubs from 185 different associations” involved.

Where do Celtic come in? Well, the Bhoys ranked an unbelievable third of all clubs in terms of outgoings [FIFA Digital Hub]. Over 2021, the Hoops let go of 32 players. That’s second only to Manchester City and Portimonense, the latter of whom let Ryan Gauld slip in the summer.

Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester City’s 41 was first by some distance. However, it shows the sheer scale of transfer work being performed by Ange Postecoglou and Michael Nicholson at Celtic. The rebuild at Parkhead was a huge story in 2021, and was much-needed, with a bloated squad, players wanting to leave, and transfer fees to accrue.

Of the most notable names to leave, Odsonne Edouard departed to Crystal Palace. Jeremie Frimpong left in the January window, for a substantial profit. Kristoffer Ajer, a star for Norway, took off to Brentford. Celtic have also sold Ryan Christie, Patryk Klimala, Jack Hendry and several others.

The Hoops also saw players leave without a fee. Olivier Ntcham is now at Swansea City, having been released. Club legend Scott Brown joined Aberdeen in the summer.

“I won’t sell Celtic to anyone” | Ange’s emphatic transfer message

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“I won’t sell Celtic to anyone” | Ange’s emphatic transfer message
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FIFA transfer report shows the extent of Celtic rebuild under Ange Postecoglou

It’s quite something, this. We knew Celtic would need a substantial rebuild. Players were going to have to leave regardless, and not just the big names.

Yes, Ajer and Edouard stole headlines. But when the summer came, it was a vital time for many of the squad’s fringe players. Decisions had to be made about a raft of fringe players. Vakoun Bayo and Marian Shved, for example, who’d done well enough on loan.

In terms of player turnover, and the level of transition needed at Celtic, we’re unlikely to see a summer like that again. Or indeed, a calendar year like that again. The Hoops don’t tend to stockpile players like Chelsea or Manchester City, so this volume of departures is a notable exception, rather than the trend.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Again, you have to applaud Ange Postecoglou and Michael Nicholson. Simply put, we wouldn’t have the new fan favourites if we couldn’t part with a significant number of players. It’s not as if the club are spending megabucks, either, it’s generally extremely sensible business.

So, don’t expect Celtic to feature this high on a FIFA annual transfer report again any time soon. For now, though, it’s ample evidence of the scale of task Postecoglou and Nicholson embarked upon.

Read more: “We have dialogue”; Another Celtic youngster looks set for Parkhead exit