With the transfer window SLAMMING SHUT on Thursday night, we thought we’d take a look at the ins and outs at Celtic Park this summer.
The big singing this summer was Olivier Ntcham, signed for an undisclosed fee - believed to be around £4 million from Manchester City, who already looks like a very good signing after only a few months. He has slightly changed the dynamic of the team, as he plays in a similar vein to Scott Brown rather than Stuart Armstrong, but he has already scored two goals, including the all important second goal in Astana, and he will have a big part to play in the Champions League.
Jonny Hayes was a player Celtic pursued for a long time this summer, and he eventually signed from Aberdeen for an undisclosed fee - believed to over a million pounds - with Ryan Christie going on loan to Aberdeen as part of the deal. You can see why Brendan Rodgers wanted to sign the player, he was voted one of the top four players in Scotland last year and had a raft of assists, but thus far has found it difficult to make an impact in the games he has been involved in. With the return of Patrick Roberts his playing time may be limited further but he will no doubt be a handy squad player to have around.
Kundai Benyu signed from Ipswich and will be part of the development squad, he featured in the league cup win over Killie and played well enough but I expect that his playing time will be limited this season.
The return of Patrick Roberts is of course probably the biggest signing of the summer, as Celtic seem to have spent months trying to persuade Manchester City to let the player return on loan. His form in the later stages of last season was fantastic, and fans are eagerly awaiting his second debut away to Hamilton on Friday night.
The latest signing is PSG’s Odsonne Edouard on loan, who will add competition to Griffiths and Dembele in the striker position, and as an ‘option to buy’ fee of around 8 million Euros. It will be interesting to see if he is involved against Hamilton on Friday.
As for the players who have left, Kris Commons, Efe Ambrose and Kolo Toure all left when their contacts expired, Gary Mackay-Steven went to Aberdeen, Ryan Christie also went to Aberdeen on loan and Emilo Izaguirre signed for Al-Fayha. The biggest loses seem to be Christie, who has started the season on fire for Aberdeen, and Izaguirre, whose departure left Celtic with no natural left-back replacement for Kieran Tierney.
Looking at the transfer business on the whole, for the most part it has been a success, with Ntcham looking very good, the return of Roberts is a major boost and Edouard provides much need competition up front. The problems lies at the back however, with the failure to add a centre-back - with Rivaldo Coertzee failing a medical - meaning that due to injury issues Nir Bitton, who was destroyed in Astana - will probably have to play againsy PSG next Tuesday. The other main issue is if Kieran Tierney is injured or rested Calvin Miller, who is a converted left-back from a winger, will take his place. We can’t play either Jonny Hayes or Callum McGregor there, it would be a disaster. The failure to add a centre-back/left-back has took a bit of a shone off what has been a mostly successful transfer window, but for the most part Celtic have the squad to continue our dominance in Scotland. As for the Champions League...we’ll just have to wait and see.