How Celtic fared for outgoings this transfer window

By Euan Davidson

September 3, 2021

Quite rightly, much of the talk about Celtic this transfer window covered who was coming in.

After a very difficult 20-21, a new manager, CEO and host of faces arrived through Parkhead’s gates. We knew a big overhaul was needed in terms of the playing staff, all the way from the Academy to the First Team.

In terms of those incomings, the club has been met with cautious praise. Celtic have moved in more esoteric directions, picking up talent from Japan, Poland, Russia and elsewhere. A summer of buying Scottish Premiership talents, it certainly wasn’t.

However, it’s worth remembering the sales Celtic made. There were plenty on the cards, with contracts due to expire in 2022, and talk of a fractured dressing room under Neil Lennon.

So, let’s take a look, by department, at the outgoings Celtic arranged. Did we get the right fee? Were there any loan players we ought to have kept?

Celtic transfer window: the defenders who left the club

Let’s get the loans out of the way first. Sadly, there was no justification for keeping any of Diego Laxalt, Shane Duffy or Jonjoe Kenny at the club beyond the summer.

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All three actually started quite well. However, too much was expected of the full-backs, who had to deal with ever-changing roles and pressing intensity. Too often relied upon to start attacks, neither of Laxalt or Kenny looked entirely comfortable.

Shane Duffy’s time at Celtic has been dissected by now, and we’re glad he’s doing well at Brighton.

As for the players we had permanently? Losing Leo Hjelde to Leeds United is a potentially sore one. The lure of the Premier League and working with Marcelo Bielsa is understandable, of course. However, you have to wonder if Celtic did enough to keep a player who had designs on making a first-team impact this season.

Jack Hendry always looked as if he’d be away, and so it proved [Daily Record]. Despite his turnaround in fortunes, we’re probably lucky to have made anything on the Scotland defender. Prior to his Belgian exploits, it never worked for him at the club.

Ross Doohan’s move to Tranmere Rovers should get him some much-needed first-team exposure.

However, the biggest move to England was, of course, Kristoffer Ajer.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

The Norway international finally got his departure to the Premier League, and so far, he’s made an impact. In Brentford’s first three top-tier outings this season, they’ve only conceded once [WhoScored?]. That’s not bad at all for a newly-promoted side.

Given the fee involved, and his contract situation, getting an initial £13.5m for his signature is probably good business [Sky Sports]. Frustratingly, he seems perfect for Ange Postecoglou’s system, and we’ll certainly miss him. Given the circumstances, though, this was a good deal for Celtic.

Concerns in the middle of the park for Celtic

Scott Brown is the obvious departure. Our former captain, now a player/coach with Aberdeen, wanted to move on this summer and does so with every Celtic fan’s best wishes.

Olivier Ntcham was another player who left for free. Now at Swansea, it’d be hard to argue Celtic didn’t mess this one up. The club could reportedly have sold him to Porto for around £14m in 2019 [Sun].

Given the overall impact he made (or didn’t make) at the club after that, it feels like a wasted opportunity to have let him go for nothing.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Ryan Christie also left Celtic, with just six months to run on the deal he had with the club. Bournemouth were the benefactors, and it’s another blow. Given the impact he was starting to make under Ange Postecoglou, he seemed another player who’d have been an excellent fit.

Making millions on an expiring contract is good news from a financial sense, sure. However, the value that an on-form Christie can bring over a season is probably worth more than the £2.5m [Sky Sports] we got for him.

In terms of loans, Scott Robertson has joined another English side; this time it’s Crewe Alexandria. There’s surely a player there, and it could’ve been useful to have him stick around, but his appetite for first-team football shows no signs of abating.

Celtic transfer window: some big-name attackers make their exits

As for goals? Well, it’s certainly been a summer of upheaval.

Odsonne Edouard got his Premier League move, just like Ajer. Except, he’ll be to SE25 and Crystal Palace, rather than Brentford. Sold for a base fee of £14m [Evening Standard], it’s a little step-down from the fees we were hoping for.

However, again – it was the last year of his deal. We knew a move was coming, but like Ajer or Christie, it’s hard to imagine us not missing him.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

A player we might not miss is Leigh Griffiths. Sidelined and surely frozen out, he’s joined Dundee on a year-long loan, after which his Celtic contract expires.

With Ajeti, Giakoumakis and the red-hot form of Kyogo in, things look relatively healthy up front, despite big-name departures. Last year’s loanees Marian Shved and Vakoun Issouf Bayo have both moved on, too, with not much of a mention from the supporters.

Overall: some decent outgoing business for Celtic this transfer window

Outgoings are just as important as incomings when it comes to a rebuilding process. And, honestly, it’d be hard to argue Celtic haven’t done pretty well here.

Selling on the likes of Bayo, Shved and Hendry was smart business, and without losing out too much in terms of value. Meanwhile, the big names like Ajer and Edouard were seeking moves, and needed a fresh start after serving the club with distinction.

Christie and Hjelde seemed somewhat avoidable, in terms of our outgoings, however. Luckily, though, we didn’t see too many promising young talents leave the club, in comparison to the numbers we’ve brought in and are impressing at B Team level.

So, it’s pass marks. But as the season progresses, we’re going to miss having some of these names around.

Read more: “Nothing simple” about striker’s move