BRENDAN RODGERS is ready to ramp up his recruitment drive to strengthen Celtic for the new season with the Premiership due to kick off a fortnight today.
The returning Hoops boss has been assessing the squad he inherited from Ange Postecoglou and is now set to put the jigsaw together.
Rodgers has already brought in Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm and Australian winger Marco Tilio and the club are poised to unveil South Korean double-act South Korean double-act Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeok-kyu as soon as the red tape has been dealt with.
The Irishman, though, is remaining silent on the £5.2million move for Legia Warsaw centre-back Maik Nawrocki although the transfer appears to have been given the green light, as CQN reported earlier today.
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However, Rodgers did acknowledge he requires to bolster his backline and said: “It’s one of the areas that I felt we could have greater depth in.
“We have some really good players already here, of course, with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt who have been the regular two. Yuki Kobayashi hasn’t played so much, but is also there.
“We also have Stephen Welsh who is a really committed player for the squad. He’s a really good lad and it’s been good to see him develop. But I feel we need another one.”
Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I wouldn’t put a number on it, but in terms of depth to the squad I think that’s what’s needed.
“Even before I came back in, I think people would have recognised the team needed improvement. And there is no better time to do that than when you are having success.
“So, we’ve been able to bring in some emerging talent players into the squad which will be great for later on. But you also need guys who are first-team ready.
“The club will reach out and spend what they possibly can within the model.
“But I think there has been a narrative based around me coming back which seems to be: ‘He’s only back here because he can spend a load of money’. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.
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“I’m back here because I want to be the Celtic manager and I’m very privileged to be that. It’s absolutely nothing to do with money whatsoever. I know where the club is at.
“I am much more aware coming back in of the model. That’s why I needed the time to make the decision to come back, because I need to know everything about the club and where it’s at.
“So, for me on a personal level, the club has a model it works to and I’ll work within that. But there seemed to be a different narrative about me coming back here.
“It felt like it was people who don’t know me were creating a story around: ‘Why would he come back?’ It was like: ‘He must be doing it because of the war chest he’s being given’.
“It does make me laugh when I read it. But it’s one where I will work within the model of the club and the club has a business model which has been really successful.
“We will look for players who are first-team ready. But we’ll also look at players who we can bring in and develop and move on. That’s the nature of it.
“Look, there are levels to it all. You could bring in a player at any cost because if he’s a good player he’ll have value. That’s what we want.
“But I’m not, in any way at all, demanding that we need to sign three players at £10million or £15million. That’s not the case.”
NORWEGIAN GREEN…new Bhoy Odin Thiago Holm is looking forward to his Hoops debut.
Rodgers added: “Celtic is one of the biggest clubs in world football. Sadly, we don’t have the resources of some of the others. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in how you work.
“And I think there is a greater understanding of that model and what it is. My advice will always be you need good players.
“But I’d always say to the supporters, you support the jersey rather than the player who is in it. It can be a big talent no matter what he costs.
“That’s what the club will always try and do. The body is work the club has produced over the last decade or so has shown that it’s the right path to be on.
“It’s about identifying the talent and clearly the club is very good at doing that. Then it’s about coaching that talent and developing it.”
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