BRENDAN RODGERS pledged to spend to add quality to his Celtic squad with only TEN days left until the August 31 transfer deadline.
The Hoops boss was bitterly disappointed following the inept and unacceptable display from his team as the holders crashed out of the Viaplay League Cup against Kilmarnock yesterday.
It was a disjointed display from a toiling side, admittedly without three crocked players – Alistair Johnston, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate – who would most certainly have played at Rugby Park.
Injuries are all part and parcel of the game, but the enforced absence of a trio of established first-teamers merely highlighted the lack of strength at the disposal of the second time-around manager who went into the tie against Derek McInnes’ side with an unblemished track record in domestic Cup competitions.
WRITE ON…Brendan Rodgers takes notes as Celtic falter at Kilmarnock.
Rodgers had won the League Cup on three consecutive occasions to add to his two Scottish Cup successes during his uninterrupted run of seven trophies in his first stint after taking over from Ronny Deila in May 2016.
That spectacular sequence of TWENTY-FOUR victories in a row disappeared off the radar with a slipshod showing in Ayrshire where home keeper Will Dennis was rarely troubled with only three shots on target to keep him alert.
In the immediate aftermath of the setback, Rodgers, as CQN reported, admitted: “I think you can see we need that quality.
“We’ve had quality go out of the building, so we definitely need that quality in.
“But the club will work very, very hard to get the players in that can improve us and make us better. That’s something we’ll do over the period of time between now and the close of the window.”
So, how much is in the Celtic kitty for Rodgers to spend to revitalise a tired and unimaginative unit that were alarmingly off the pace as their interest in the first trophy up for grabs was ended so abruptly?
The actual figure will be between the manager and the club hierarchy, but a ballpark figure of £30million was mentioned in the summer.
Since then, the champions have sold Filipe Jota and Carl Starfelt.
UP, UP AND AWAY…fans’ favourite Filipe Jota takes to the air in his last appearance at Parkhead in Celtic’s 5-0 win over Aberdeen in late May.
The fee for the Portuguese maverick was reported as £25million, but as CQN revealed in June, the Hoops’ share of the deal would be £12.5million after deductions had been made such as Benfica’s 30 per cent of the profit of the transfer after the initial selling fee of £6.5million the previous summer.
The reported figure for Starfelt following his switch to La Liga club Celta Vigo was £5million.
There will be alterations to the final figure, but an educated guess on both transfers would be that something in the region of £16million had been added to the club’s transfer war chest.
Six players have been brought to the club over the past two months. It’s a reasonable school of thought that at least five of those signings had been earmarked before Rodgers took over.
Mark Lawwell and his prolific recruitment team are more than likely to have been behind the arrivals of Marco Tilio (£2m), Odin Holm (£2.25m), Yang Hyun-jun (£2.1m), Kwon Hyeon-kyu (£850,000) and Gustaf Lagerbiekle (£3m).
ON THE BALL…Maik Nawrocki in action at Rugby Park.
Rodgers had prior knowledge of Maik Nawrocki after the centre-back played for Legia Warsaw against his former club Leicester City in European competition in 2021. The German-born Polish Under-21 international cost in the region of £4.3million.
The outlay, with these transfer fees recorded at the time of the transactions, comes to £14.5million.
Subtract that figure from the money that has been paid in and it shows a surplus of £1.5million in the club’s favour.
Naturally, in such intricate workings of transfer deals and how the money is paid, instalments and suchlike, a lot is guesswork, but it would be logical to accept Celtic are in profit as far as the wheeling and dealing in this marketplace is concerned.
That takes us back to the original question: How much is at Rodgers’ disposal to continue putting his Celtic jigsaw together?
Of course, players who command massive transfer fees also come with huge wage demands, so it is all a question of getting that balance absolutely perfect.
WINGING IT…South Korean wide Bhoy Yang Hyun-jun was introduced in the second-half of the Cup loss.
The Hoops are guaranteed something in the region of £25million for their participation in the Champions League group stages and there are financial spin-offs from three guaranteed sell-outs at Parkhead.
Rodgers is still the holder of the Hoops manager with the most expensive purchase – the £9million he splashed on Odsonne Edouard from Paris Saint-Germain in June 2018.
It proved to be money well spent with the French striker bringing in £18.5million when he was sold to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2021.
It is now time for the club to allow Rodgers to splash the cash to make sure Celtic are equipped for the challenges at home and abroad.
The clock is ticking.