RONNY DEILA has revealed he tried to sign new Bhoy Dedryck Boyata from Manchester City last summer.
The 24-year-old Belgian international is Celtic’s only signing so far after agreeing a four-year deal to replace Jason Denayer, who has returned to the Etihad.
Deila said: “I’ve known about Dedryk for one year. We got Jason, but we weren’t allowed to get Boyata then – now their roles have been changed.
“That’s not to say Boyata was first choice – that’s hard to say because at the time they wanted to keep him and Jason was a possibility. Jason then hadn’t played an important match in his life and now it’s quite different.
“But that’s also one of the reasons Dedryck wanted to come here because he saw what happened with Jason. He needs love and trust. He needs opportunities to play over time.
“You also have to deserve it, of course, but that is done in training and matches.
“When you don’t get any minutes, you’re just there, and you don’t feel the love you need.
“In the end, we got a very good player. I know that if we can get the best out of him he has the potential to be a top international player.
“City agree and will follow him in the future to see if he can take the next step, like Virgil Van Dijk is trying to do now.
“Jason has shown what he was and where he is now. If we have good material to work with, we can make a top player.
“It’s not easy to play your way into the Manchester City team when they can buy players for £35million in that position.
“The level is very high. There are no youngsters coming through there. The Scottish top flight is a better stage to get into, the level of the league isn’t as high as it is in England.”
Deila assessed his squad’s readiness for action with European football only two-and-a-half weeks away.
He has no worries over skipper Scott Brown, last seen limping off the park at the Aviva in Scotland’s 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland.
The Norwegian added: “It was just cramp. But Scott has been injured in the last two years so we have to try to do things differently with him in the pre-season because he is an important players for us and we need him on the pitch.
“It is very important for us that he is ready for the big matches. When he came back in the team he made a big impact.”