The January gamble that is actually worth it even for risk-averse Celtic board
Celtic aren’t finished in the January transfer window. They simply can’t be. Not this year.
The Celtic board, CEO Michael Nicholson and manager Ange Postecoglou have all been rightly praised for putting in the preparation and hard work to ensure the squad was boosted by the arrival of three J-League talents.
Credit where it’s due, Celtic showed a bit of much-needed ruthlessness as far as those deals were concerned. There is absolutely no grumbling to be had.
While that sets the tone, it can’t be the defining action of January. There’s still more to do. And if there is any January in recent history to take a transfer gamble, push the boat out and spend a bit of money – it’s this January.
With upwards of £40m up for grabs to the winners of this year’s Scottish Premiership through the Champions League, even an ambitious transfer outlay in the coming weeks would look like a smart gamble. And I bet most fans would settle for a modest spend as long as the right players arrived.
Realistically Celtic are only two or three positions away from a very solid unit that can compete in three competitions over the next few months. We need an attacker for the right flank, another central defender and even a left-back.
“Greedy!” you may cry. And yes, part of my wishes are borne from the regular fan hype that transfer windows naturally bring to the fore. I just love new signings. I bet those of you reading this even have another couple of must-buy positions beyond the three I’ve mentioned.
But the serious point is that even Postecoglou admits his squad is struggling to cope with the high intensity of his footballing style coupled with the heavy schedule. We need more bodies in the door in key positions and they all have to be first-team quality.
Thankfully it looks like Celtic recognise this because they’re already trying to move players out the door, which is just as important. Youngsters are leaving on loan, reports are surfacing about squad deadwood, the priority is shifting on to those who won’t be used by the manager.
That’s fine as long as it clears the decks for further incomings, otherwise Celtic aren’t appreciating the gravity of the prize on offer to the league winners this year.
Currently six points behind, there’s absolutely no excuse for becoming complacent. If we can leverage a bit of financial muscle over our rivals and push a couple of deals over the line that might not be done in a normal January, then that’s what Celtic must do. Ange needs to get every player he wants.
It’s a tough month to do business in for sure. But hard times call for decisive measures. The alternative is handing £40m across the city wrapped in a gift bow.
In other news, Celtic praised by top-flight boss for sorting out “quick deal” as confirmation arrives.