The frustrating Celtic transfer policy that's been called out

By David Walton

April 29, 2021

The Celtic transfer policy of bringing in loan players to help secure short-term success has been called out by Alan Stubbs.

Over the last three years in particular, Celtic have brought in as many as 15 different loan players [Transfermarkt]. This year was no different as Neil Lennon brought as many as four loan players in the last two windows.

It’s led to a lack of stability on an annual basis for Celtic. Every summer we’re left with huge shortages in key areas of the pitch. This often leads to panic signings or simply another loan player coming into the club.

Stubbs believes this has been a big cause of Celtic’s decline in recent years, as he believes temporary players don’t feel the same responsibility as those tied to the club for the long term.

As quoted by the National, the ex-Hoops defender said: “You’ve got to be careful that you don’t bring in players that use the club as a springboard, and they buy into what you want to do. That is huge.

“When you have so many loan signings, it’s very difficult for them to really get a feel for the club. Because whether it’s for six months or a season, it doesn’t bring stability for me. It’s very easy when things are not going well for people to say ‘You know what, I can go back to my parent club.’ But when you’ve got a player there who’s there for a number of years, you have to buy into what is needed.

“I really don’t feel as if the foreign players – and I don’t want to put all the blame on them as that’s not right – but in terms of understanding the enormity of what was at stake this season. If they did get it then it didn’t come across that they got it.”

Celtic haven’t truly built a squad since Rodgers’ early days

This is a great point Stubbs picks up on. Even if loan players try to show as much heart and determination as they can, it’ll be in their subconscious that they don’t truly need to worry too much. After all, their safe haven awaits them when they head back to their parent clubs.

This hasn’t been the key reason for Celtic’s decline this season. There have been a multitude of reasons for that, and pinning blame on one particular fraction of the Celtic squad feels a touch harsh.

But it’s also spot on to say that Celtic haven’t truly been building a squad since Brendan Rodgers’ early days. Not since Rodgers was able to bring in six permanent signings to the club have we been able to build appropriately. Even in his second season, Celtic were hauling in as many as five loan signings.

Shane Duffy has been one of several failed loan signings this season / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Not that loans don’t have their place of course. If there’s a diamond in the rough that you feel you could develop and potentially bag at the end of his loan period, it’s worth doing. The same for players whose careers could be revived with a bit of trust and game-time.

But the truth is, bringing in these players with no intention to sign them permanently screams short-termism. It doesn’t help your building of the squad and most certainly wouldn’t help squad harmony either.

Hopefully our reliance on loan players dies down under the new manager. It’s certainly played too big a part in our squad shortages over the years.

In other news, the reported Richard Hughes latest is a big boost for Celtic.