ANGE POSTECOGLOU insists he has the backing of the Hoops hierarchy as he continues his plans to make Celtic a force to be reckoned with at the highest level.
The Greek-Australian manager has been given the go-ahead by the Parkhead powerbrokers to raid the January transfer market in his determined and driven quest to make his team serious competitors in the Champions League on a regular basis.
Postecoglou admits he has “no fear” of selling some of his current stars to fund his ambitious targets, as CQN reported yesterday.
The 57-year-old gaffer, who took over as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor in June last year, saw the club drop out of Europe after finishing bottom of the elite competition’s Group F with only two points from a possible 18.
SIGN OF SUCCESS…Ange Postecoglou alongside last season’s silverware haul, the Premiership and League Cup.
But the defiant gaffer said: “I’m not disheartened by anything I’ve seen so far. I think we can do it this way and make up ground.
“I haven’t had any frustration or sense there wasn’t any alignment. I’ve had full support along the way. I’ll keep doing it until someone taps me on the shoulder and says: ‘That’s enough’.
“I’m obsessed by success. I’ve had success at every club I’ve been at because I haven’t limited what that looks like.
“I see no reason why this club can’t compete in the Champions League regularly. There’s obviously a massive gap to the big clubs, but there’s nothing to suggest we can’t be a strong club at that level.
“There’s nothing written anywhere that says: ‘This is your limit’.”
In recent times, the club’s transfer strategy has to bring in players such as Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer and make a profit when they move on. Before them, that was the case with Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama.
DUG-OUT HUDDLE…Ange Postecoglou celebrates a goal against Ibrox opponents with John Kennedy, Harry Kewell and Stevie Woods. Substitute Aaron Mooy adds applause.
It has proved to be a sound policy that makes financial sense and last summer’s moves funded Postecoglou’s purchases of players such as Kyogo Furuhashi, Carl Starfelt, Liel Abada and Josip Juranovic.
The focused boss is looking at acquisitions who could go in and be equipped to handle the rigours of the Champions League.
Postecoglou continued: “Potentially, if we get to those levels financially, why not?
“I think the core is that we will always look at a certain demographic and what I mean by that is that we will always go for the younger scale because that is part of the model that we need to create.
“But there are younger players who have had Champions League experience. You look at that Shakhtar team and the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk – they are young, but they have already had two or three years of Champions League experience.
“That is obviously beyond the financial levels we are at, but there could be clubs where we could look at younger players who have Champions League experience.”
THE THINKER…Ange Postecoglou plots the way ahead.
Asked if that meant rather than buying a £2million player and selling for £10million, he wants to buy for £5million and then £10million and sell for £20million, Postecoglou, speaking to the Daily Record, replied: “That is the way to go. I think that is how you get yourself up that ladder.
“That must still be underpinned with good decisions because whether you spend £1, £5million, £20million or £50million or £100million, if you are getting it wrong then you are getting it wrong. For me, that is the most important bit.
“What I hope I have proven over the last 12 to 18 months is that for the most part all the players we have brought in, irrespective of the levels, have made an impact.
“There is a trust from the club that whatever the spend is going to be, provided we go through a similar process, that if we get it right then we should be getting really good players.”
Postecoglou added: “If you compare us to similar-sized clubs in Europe, they are very aggressive with their trading. You have to be take opportunities.
A BIG HAND…Ange Postecoglou applauds the Celtic support after the 3-0 win at Livingston.
“If that means players moving on, you are a more comfortable with it if you have the solution before it happens. It becomes part of the process of bridging the financial gap that exists with other clubs.
“It can be a little bit unsettling at times, especially for supporters if their favourite players don’t stay here for six, seven, eight, nine years.
“If we’re going to continue to improve, we need to be able to think that way and make sure we take up opportunities when they come along.”
Postecoglou’s record buy since his arrival is the £6.5million paid to Benfica for Filipe Jota with Cameron Carter-Vickers bought for £6million from Spurs.
Both emphasised their quality during their loan seasons and the Hoops chief had no hesitation in making their moves permanent in the summer.
The January transfer window is heading for one of the most exciting – and intriguing – in the club’s recent history.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Dundee United this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.