Celtic are missing big transfer opportunities with continued delay

By Euan Davidson

June 17, 2021

Whatever the truth is about the mooted transfer of Leo Hjelde to Leeds, or how close Fergal Harkin was joining Celtic, there’s a prevailing feeling.

That feeling is popularly known as ‘FOMO’. Fear of missing out. Maybe it’s not as widespread as I assume. However, I’m willing to go out on a limb and suggest Celtic supporters aren’t best pleased with the transfer business we’ve done so far.

Or, indeed, the lack of it. Rumours that Celtic were to appoint a Director of Football first really first emerged in February. In fact, it’s something we’ve been chewing over since December. The continued influence of Peter Lawwell, our struggles in the transfer market, Neil Lennon’s resignation and the employ of Dominic McKay have put the idea further into the fans’ consciousness.

Yet, nothing. So when the Hjelde news broke earlier today, there was a sense of missing out. Leeds United, through Victor Orta, have recruited fantastically well. That includes their pursuit of world-renowned manager Marcelo Bielsa. Through shrewd acquisitions and a coherent ideology, they’ve gone from a perennial problem club to an effective outfit, with optimism for the future.

Perhaps an even better example is Lille’s Luis Campos. Again, through fantastically calculated transfer business and excellent scouting, Campos and Christophe Galtier delivered Les Dogues an unlikely Ligue 1 title. Now, Mancheser United and Juventus want his magic touch [Sky Sports]. There are more examples, of course, but it’s hard not to feel we’re missing out big time.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

Celtic bringing in a Director of Football could’ve made this summer’s transfer window far easier

Put bluntly, Celtic should’ve modernised a long time ago. More recently, say November time, they should’ve put the wheels in motion to change the transfer business the club does, the structure and the ideology. We knew by then that it just wasn’t working.

Our performances domestically and abroad, and our inability to get past the last 32 of the Europa League, show how much we’re lagging behind our cosmopolitan counterparts. The buy-low-sell-high model only has a few success stories, and plenty of examples of it not working.

 Sports Director of Lille OSC Luis Campos (R) / (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

New thinking would’ve made our “rebuild” so much easier. If you’re optimistic, it wouldn’t have been needed. Unless there are clear, quality replacements in mind for Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer lined up, we’ve got little to reason to trust the club’s recruitment. Everyone knew they would want to leave.

Again, the Director of Football job isn’t just about signings. But we’ve missed out because next to no planning has been done. Some very famous examples of bad management have stung us in the recent past.

I don’t want to be jealous of how other clubs are run. We’ve missed huge opportunities to plan well ahead of time, implement a recruitment culture, and snare targets of our own.

That we haven’t is a real worry.

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