EDDIE HOWE has the stature to attract some of football’s big names to Celtic.

That’s the verdict of former striker Chris Sutton who was lured to Parkhead in a £6million switch from Chelsea in the sumer of 2000.

Former England international captain Bryan Robson, then the manager of Middlesbrough, made a last-ditch offer to take the frontman to the Riverside club who were in the top flight at the time, but Sutton opted for the Hoops – and that was down to the presence of Martin O’Neill.

The one-time frontman, now a top media pundit, said: “Managerial stature is everything. Jack Walker took Kenny Dalglish into the job at Blackburn and he would have known that people would fall over themselves to play for the Scottish legend.

“You can certainly count me in that bracket and it was the same when Martin O’Neill asked me to go to Celtic.

“Eddie Howe would be that boss of real reputation and standing, but they need a raft of signings and they need to be good ones.”

Sutton was clearly unimpressed by the work done on the scouting front by Nick Hammond who has just left the club.

He said: “Howe’s recruitment is also going to have to be spot on. In the week where Nick Hammond departed, the importance of that has never been clearer.

“As a former goalkeeper himself back in the day, Hammond was anything but a safe pair of hands. As far as recruitment was concerned, he had a nightmare. Some of the signings have been woeful.

“Of course, the manager gets a final say, but you have to trust the man doing the spotting and it’s intriguing that he wants to take Richard Hughes out of Bournemouth and appoint him.

“Looking at where Celtic are right now, Howe has to get the right man in there and someone he trusts.”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “While the manager appointment is first and foremost, this recruitment one is also vital as Celtic cannot afford to get it wrong this summer. Too much is riding on it.

“Other than Callum McGregor, David Turnbull, James Forrest and Christopher Jullien, who else can the club hang their hats on if Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie, if expected, leave?

“Celtic are going to need to get about eight in the door to even get started and at least 75 per cent of them are going to have to hit the ground running.

“Having Howe at the helm, however, will help get the right bodies in. He’s got the reputation to attract the players who are identified and he’s got the CV to suggest he’ll put together an exciting team.

“He’d be an excellent appointment. And one that would give fans hope that things are about to turn back in their club’s favour.”

DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Falkirk this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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