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‘I’M PREPARED TO SMASH CELTIC TRANSFER RECORD,’ RODGERS

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BRENDAN RODGERS has admitted he is prepared to smash Celtic’s transfer record as he targets Champions League success.

The Hoops boss is already plotting his next European assault and is looking to strengthen his squad after the club posted a £19million profit from the first half of the campaign.

The Parkhead outfit paid out £6million each for Chris Sutton, Neil Lennon and John Hartson during Martin O’Neill’s reign.

And Rodgers has been told the board will go even higher as they prepare for another assault on Europe’s pinnacle.

The Irishman said: “We will always push to make a signing – if it is right for the club and right for the team.

“I have never been given a ceiling. I’ll always look to bring the best possible players here.

“But I won’t bring anyone in for the sake of it.

“We’ve had players offered here who might sound great in terms of names, but they aren’t going to help Celtic.

“I need players who are coachable, who are hungry and have quality, whether they are experienced or not.

“The model has been to develop and move them on. I just think that will happen naturally. If someone gets offered a load of money, then there is a timeline on it.

“But we need players who want to take Celtic forward. Whether they are a million quid, £6million, £7million or whatever, the club know I will bring that to them.

“Money, from what I have seen and my experience, distorts reality. You want to keep a cohesive group, a tight-knit squad, you want to pay players what they are worth.

“Sometimes the market, depending on where you get them from, can be over-inflated.

“But if a player we feel is worth it, I will always look to convince the board that we can do that because the Celtic supporters deserve the best players.”

Rodgers added: “Building is everything. The platform is there for you, but you have to get there again. It’s the football department that gets you there and it’s about finding a way to get there again.

“It will never be easy, but I am hoping last year’s qualification will be the most difficult one we face, purely because we came in late.

“I don’t think it gets easier in terms of tension and anxiety, but I hope as we go on we will be in better position to continue this cycle of Champions League and building.

“I’ll always be the same. I meet the board regularly and speak to Peter Lawwell just about every day.

“You have to give huge amount of credit to Peter and the people here. Those figures demonstrate a really solid model of management in a difficult climate.

“There is risk and reward, but you have to ensure the risk is worth it.

“Peter has shown wonderful leadership and we are very fortunate at Celtic with the intellect of the board.

“They stay calm in moments, there’s strategy and trust. which is important,and it’s all for the common goal, which is Celtic.

“The best time to improve is when you are successful. As a football club, you can’t sit and glorify about what you have one, on or off the field.

“You have to have one eye on today and one on tomorrow. You can’t rest on your laurels.

“We’ve made a nice start here, but there is a whole load for us still to do.

“That’s the exciting part – because we have only just started.”

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