We have watched Celtic through many transfer windows but I don’t think we have ever hit as many targets before – both in terms of who we brought in and who we moved out.
It is still early in the season but Kyogo Furuhashi (26) looks every inch a superstar in hoops. Two years ago we pondered who was better, Edouard or Dembele, without reaching a clear conclusion. Today, Kyogo would be first pick from the three of them. It has been 17 years since we have seen a striker with such promise – so no pressure, Kyogo.
The first assumption is that Georgios Gialouakis (26) will have to wait on Kyogo being rested to make his mark. With a long season ahead, who knows? Georgios offers an aerial target that we have missed for many years, there could be occasions when he is preferred, or when both are used.
I hear great things about Josip Juranovic (26) from Zbyszek. He was a stand out for Legia last season and no one there is happy he has left. He gets forward, has an end product and can defend. The defence is already vastly more stable than it was last season, the addition of Jura should help.
Carl Starfelt (26) is frustratingly difficult to assess. He is good on the ball, fast, and reads the game well enough to cover for teammates. Then there are the mistakes that cost goals. At the same stage of Christopher Jullien’s Celtic career, the French defender was sitting on the bench, unable to win a place in the team that exited the Champions League. Christopher soon settled, Carl must do the same.
That’s four 26-year-olds added at their athletic peak. Not often we do that.
Paying £3.6m for a 19-year-old from Israeli football is at the higher end of what Maccabi Petah Tikva could have hoped for. Liel Abada’s instant return in goals and assists indicates why they got that figure. He is the youngest of the 12 signings this window and will continue to develop for years.
Joe Hart (34) is by some margin better than any of the three keepers who shuffled through the starting line-up last season. He has already brought authority – as well as saves (!) – to the team.
Five years ago, James McCarthy (30) was miles out of our reach. The subsequent seasons have not been kind, as the player’s appearance stats were subverted by various injuries. 30 minutes into his Celtic career, he again missed out through injury. James has controlled games in the EPL. If we get him fit, he will play in our most important games. Let’s hope.
Filipe Jota (22) has skill and incredible pace. Last season he was on loan at Real Valladolid, who finished 19th in La Liga and were relegated. There is a rule of thumb I used whenever Patrick Roberts moves. Patrick is a slight and skilful player, similar to Jota, but since leaving Celtic, Patrick has mostly played for teams at the bottom end of the table, where robust defending is required, often at the cost of creative players. The slight, pacey and skilful players should ply their trade with clubs operating at the top end of the table.
There is development work ahead for Jota but he starts from a respectable high.
Cameron Carter-Vickers’ (23) signing was not quite as late as John Guidetti (another story) but he slipped through the window with minutes to spare. My big worry about central defence is that I don’t expect Christopher Jullien to contribute much before Christmas (he is a slow starter to the season), leaving us short of cover for the Europa League.
Jota and Cameron both have the incentive of a permanent deal with Celtic to play for. This worked well for Odsonne, let’s hope for the same.
Liam Scales (23) is the same age as Cameron and will hope to force his way into either central defence or left back. £500k is decent money to pay for a League of Ireland player, his addition should ensure we do not force Nir Bitton back into the middle of the back line again.
Liam Shaw (20) and Osaze Urhoghide (20) are unlikely to see much game time this season.
Do you want to know how important it is that we sold Odsonne Edouard and (to a lesser extent) Ryan Christie? Wait and see what happens across the city, where a team who publicly made it known they needed to sell players were unable to do so.
You either manage your assets or you fail to manage your assets and they expire looking more like liabilities. Under different circumstances, Odsonne, Ryan and Kristoffer Ajer would have been sold a year ago, but the decision was made to retain them for the 10-in-a-row season. I know, you all said “Sell them!” at the time………
None of them attracted clubs of the calibre that Kieran and Moussa did. That we got north of £30m for them from EPL bottom dwellers is above my expectations. There are deductions for sell-on clauses, of course, but this money, in addition to the revenue from Jeremie Frimpong (minus sell-on) and Patryk Klimala will have a huge impact on Scottish football in the years ahead.
Leigh Griffiths moved on, thank goodness. Boli Bolingoli and Vasilis Barkas did not, both will wither on the vine.
So, are we going to win the league? I’m feeling good about it.