Not every Celtic signing needs to be a blockbuster name
With the Celtic ‘rebuild’ on everyone’s lips, it’s reminded me of significant overhauls in our recent past, and the kind of signing that makes these teams tick.
For example; Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray all oversaw significant turnover shortly after arriving at the club. For better or worse, some important names would leave and in their place, a raft of new faces to excite the Paradise faithful.
There were some big names, of course: Chris Sutton, Shunsuke Nakamura, Scott McDonald, et al. Statement signings by new managers to get supporters onside, and exemplify a coach’s time at the club. They’re exciting, “marquee” moves that often define an era.
Yet, it’s about more than the big names. Players with immediate functionality, acceptance of a smaller role and the ability to gel well in a new squad are, arguably, just as important. Think Ulrik Laursen, Momo Sylla, Mark Wilson and to an extent Paul Hartley and Barry Robson.
Squad building is an exercise in patience and picking the right parts, and while some of the recent transfer news has been underwhelming to a point, the likes of Charlie Wyke and Erik Sviatchenko [Daily Record] could have a significant role to play at Celtic next season.
Not every Celtic signing needs to be a headline-grabber
Wyke, for example: he’s almost definitely not going to be the next Odsonne Edouard. But as a squad option, he’s a very sensible signing, off the back of a 30-goal season [Transfermarkt]. His style may not seem the obvious tactical fit for someone like Ange Postecoglou, but if we need a serviceable back-up in the centre forward position, why not pick up a prolific striker on a free transfer?
Sviatchenko is still beloved to a degree; a solid defender, albeit with the turning pace of a caravan. But in the past, he’s proven to be the required standard in Scotland, at least. Ever since moving back to Midjtylland, he’s gained Champions League experience and has been critical to a stubborn defence. In the 19-20 edition of the Danish Superliga, his side conceded just 19 goals in 26 games [Soccerway].
Are these the flashiest signings? No, absolutely not. But that doesn’t have to be a knock against them. A successful squad is full of hard-working constituent parts that don’t make the back pages with regularity. They’re full of players who can come in and do a certain job at a certain time.
The addition of Wyke and Sviatchenko doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll win the Europa League, but if last year proved anything, it was that a shortage of decent squad options in several positions is crucial.
Yes, it’s natural to compare what we’re potentially getting with what we’re losing. And if these two players, for an example, are the club’s grand strategy to win the title back, we should be worried.
But more likely, they’re rotational pieces that can help to win us games. And as much as we need big names with star quality, we need guys like these two, just as badly.
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