The truth about Celtic rebuild and how long it could take

By David Walton

May 18, 2021

We all know about the incoming Celtic rebuild that’s due to happen in the summer.

The Hoops will overhaul their managerial and playing staff ahead of next season in a bid to wrestle the title back from Rangers. Make no mistake, Celtic fans want this done immediately. Forget this idea that anything else than winning the title back will be the main priority. Given the destruction we witnessed in Glasgow, it’s important we secure the title back next term.

The new manager will have the tools to do so. Or at least he should. Celtic should be able to rake in decent money for Odsonne Edouard, Kris Ajer, and Ryan Christie. We’ve already banked from the sale of Patryk Klimala last month. Not to mention the £11.5m secured from the sale of Jeremie Frimpong to Bayer Leverkusen [Scottish Sun].

But given the amount of players needed this summer, the idea we can get this all done in one window is looking unlikely. A recent analysis of the first-team squad by 67HailHail showed that we may need as many as 13 players in the door. This is in order to have two options for every position.

As well as the players mentioned above, we have a host of loan players scheduled to depart. Diego Laxalt, Jonjoe Kenny, Shane Duffy, and Mohamed Elyounoussi are all back at their parent clubs. Don’t expect any of them back.

"Carl Starfelt to Celtic is a big possibility" | Swedish journalist Anel Avdić

But where it leaves us is with every single position in our squad bar centre-midfield without adequate firepower. We have so many positions that need filling, and that’s not even including any potentially surprise departures.

FIFA’s Transfer Matching System lists the dates for the summer window in Scotland to take place from June 9th to August 31st. That gives Celtic a 12-week window to get deals done for all of their positions. Given how many we need, you’re talking, on average, one player coming into the club every week.

Celtic haven’t seen a rebuild like this for decades

Even in the past when Celtic have needed monumental overhauls, we’ve never worked at a pace like that. The most amount of players we’ve brought in, if you’re talking about the modern-day Celtic, is 11 players in one window. That was under Neil Lennon back in 2010. We need even more than that this term, and that figure could even rise still.

Even in Lennon’s time in charge, he had the final few months of the 2009/10 season to plan ahead. The new Celtic manager won’t have as strong a base as he did to make all of his signings. In fact, whenever Celtic have undertaken revolutions under new managers, they haven’t brought in anywhere near as the 13 potentially required.

When Martin O’Neill came to the club, his first window saw eight players come in. Strachan would manage nine whilst Mowbray secured seven. All of these managers had rebuilds to carry out, but not quite on the scale we have this summer.

Neil Lennon brought 11 players to Celtic in his first window (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s not just underperformers we have at the club this year. It’s players who are definitely leaving. So there’s lesser prospect for the new manager to come in and reinvigorate many of our strugglers.

The manager’s work could very easily trickle into the January window and even next summer. We may effectively be in a position where we’ve won the title before we’ve even finished our rebuild.

Like it or not, that’s just the situation we’ve left ourselves in by taking a risk on 10-in-a-row. Hopefully, the next manager can solve most of our issues out this summer. We certainly need extensive work done even if not all of it can be squeezed into the summer window.

In other news, Patryk Klimala has continued to impress in the MLS with his new manager showering him with praise.


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