Celtic have been smart with loan-to-buy agreements this transfer window

By Euan Davidson

September 4, 2021

Celtic have changed their approach when it comes to hiring players, and that was clear late in the transfer window.

While loan deals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, they’re often beneficial. Yes, we may well be developing a player for someone else’s benefit, or it’s putting plasters over gaping wounds. Both are arguments, based very much in reality, that have emerged particularly over the last few years.

However, what Celtic are doing differently is maybe going under the radar. With Jota [Sky Sports] and Cameron Carter-Vickers [Daily Mail], the club have the option of buying either player permanently.

That, perhaps, is why it took so long.

Often, the case with loan-to-buy deals is that a player agrees personal terms for a provisional future contract. That way, the loaning club can quickly arrange a deal, with the club and player both signed into an agreement. No fuss.

Excitingly, if that’s the case here, we have two potentially excellent players sewn up for next summer, provided they play well. Yes, maybe it’s obvious stuff, but from a squad-building and financial flexibility point of view, it’s good business.

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Committing to another £13m or so of spending this summer past would’ve probably been beyond Celtic’s means. Therefore, planning ahead is responsible on the pitch, and off it.

Celtic can’t buy everyone, but this transfer window has shown workarounds

The reality is that Celtic can’t be gung-ho with their finances. Not after a season and a half effected by Covid-19, and even with the sales that have come in. This isn’t to defend the board, but it’s something we ought to be cognisant of. We haven’t turned into PSG overnight.

Ah, but: talking of PSG, Odsonne Edouard was another player who did enough on loan to inspire some significant spending. Signed for a club record £9m [Sky Sports], his was the typical “try before you buy” signing. Spending that much on an unproven young talent without seeing what he could do for Celtic would’ve been wildly irresponsible.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

So, here’s hoping that Jota and Carter-Vickers can impress. If they do, it makes it so easy for Celtic next summer. If the money is there, just activate the clause to bring either or both in permanently.

None of this is rocket science, but it’s a change in the way the club have conducted loan deals. Instead of “developing other club’s players” or patching together a squad, it’s an informed risk with potentially significant reward at the end.

This transfer window, we saw Celtic thinking differently. Long may it continue.

Read more: Why the international break may have long-term benefits

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