ANGE POSTECOGLOU has been linked with moves for Rubin Kazan winger Sead Haksabanovic and Hadjuk Split midfielder Jani Atanasov with less than a fortnight to go before the signing deadline.
The Celtic manager has already cemented seven deals in this window with Filipe Jota, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Daizen Maeda agreeing permanent deals while he has welcomed £3.75million Argentinian left-back Alexandro Bernabei and free agents Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy and Swiss keeper Benji Siegrist.
German centre-back Moritz Jenz also arrived on a season-long loan arrangement from French outfit Lorient.
COOL, CALM AND COLLECTED…Ange Postecoglou is the master of planning ahead.
However, perfectionist Postecoglou is determined to add quality additions to his playing resources to cope with the demands of the challenges at home and in Europe.
Former Hoops goalscoring great Chris Sutton is backing the Greek-Australian gaffer to get it right and has been impressed with his dealings in the market place since being appointed Parkhead boss in June last year.
The former England international striker said: “Succession planning is a crucial part of any club recruitment drive.
“When you sense that you have big players who might be moving on, you have to be ready to replace, or even better still, have the replacements already there and bedded into the unit.
“In January, Ange Postecoglou went into the market and signed Daizen Maeda, Matt O’Riley, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi. Yes, it was to give the squad an immediate boost, especially midfield with David Turnbull sidelined for the long term.
FAREWELL TO THE CHAMPIONS…Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton after their last performance for Celtic in the 6-0 win over Motherwell at Parkhead on May 14.
“But, even though we on the outside of the dressing room didn’t know it, you have to think the boss may have already had an inkling that Tom Rogic and Nir Bitton were destined for the exit door in the summer and he was ahead of the game in terms of replacing them.
“No panic scrambling around this summer trying to get them covered. He’d already done it.”
Sweden-born Haksabanovic appears to be next in line and and Sutton commented: “I’m not suggesting for one minute that any of the current Celtic wide men, other than Mikey Johnston, are going to be departing in the next fortnight.
“But what if Jota or Liel Abada are absolutely sensational in the Champions League group stages? Clubs will be queueing up looking to sign them for megabucks next summer and you have to be ahead of the game when it comes to the market these days.
“Put it this way, Josip Juranovic is a first-pick Croatian international who is going to a World Cup after playing in a Champions League. He’s already got admirers. What is the list going to be like if he excels in those two tournaments?
LOAN BHOY…long-time target Moritz Jenz has already made an impact at the champions.
“Celtic will know this and I’d be absolutely shocked if the scouting team isn’t already scouring for a right-back. Not for right now, but for a later date, so they are ready to move if they have super offers for Juranovic in a year’s time.
“Moritz Jenz is an example. Celtic had been on his case for over a year before he eventually signed. You need to plan ahead. For now and for later.
“Postecoglou might have a few wingers, but whether it’s Haksabanovic or another one which has been sourced, I believe any quality addition to the squad is a bonus. It’s not about having too many. To me, there are simply no negatives to adding more talent to your squad.”
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “Postecoglou is clearly determined to keep driving Celtic forward. When it comes to having top players and excellent options, it’s my view that you just can’t have enough.
“Interest in Sead Haksabanovic has brought some interesting commentary in the past 48 hours as regards the situation within the Celtic squad.
“The Montenegro international is noted mainly as a left-winger and perhaps the wide positions are an area where the squad is well stocked. If you consider that Jota, Liel Abada, Daizen Maeda and James Forrest can all operate there, there are already options and choices.
FANS’ FAVOURITE…Filipe Jota applauds the travelling support after the 3-1 victory over Ross County in Dingwall.
“But, if you want two to start and two to come off the bench on any given day to freshen things up in games, that means Celtic are still in a position where one injury leaves them short and unable to do that.
“Postecoglou has already gone on record to say that Mikey Johnston is not going to get regular opportunities this term and he wants him out and playing on loan, so, realistically, they currently have four.
“Haksabanovic can play off the right hand side as well according to what I’ve heard and also in a central position. Right now, there is only really Matt O’Riley there for that area just behind the central striker after the departure of Tom Rogic and one man is not enough.
“Especially if the club is going to be playing another 50-odd games this season and the Danish Under-21 cap is going to have regular international commitments, potentially even a World Cup in Qatar with Kasper Hjulmand’s senior squad.”
Sutton added: “Brendan Rodgers once moaned about having a million wingers and it’s true that stockpiling average guys isn’t a great scenario if some of them just aren’t good enough for the side.
“However, if Postecoglou is adding individuals of quality who can go straight into the side at the drop of a hat without the standards dropping, then the more the merrier, in my eyes.”