Our infamous summer of 2020


Whatever plans Celtic had for the summer of 2020, the pandemic and a 6’ 7” goalkeeper put paid to them.  Fraser Forster spent the previous season performing miracles for Celtic on loan from Southampton.  Both were keen to extend his stay, so much so that Fraser’s pal and understudy, Craig Gordon, accepted lesser terms from Hearts than were on offer from Celtic to get some football.

A week after Craig left, Southampton gave Celtic the green light on a fresh loan, but on taking the call, Fraser about turned, he had heard of interest from Chelsea and wanted to pursue that option to a conclusion.

Without two keepers, and with a ban on international travel, Celtic had to go to market for a replacement without the ability to watch players.  The list came down to the best from the Scottish market, or theimpressive AEK Athens keeper when they eliminated us from the Champions League qualifiers two years earlier.  The Є5m plus wages spent on Vasilis Barkas will remain a lesson for years to come.

Fresh from a domestic crisis, Shane Duffy arrived on loan from Brighton.  The Celtic supporter suffered a torrid time alone in Glasgow that spilled into his play.

We needed a striker and money was available with two options under consideration: Peterborough’s Ivan Toney, or West Ham’s Albian Ajeti.  Toney was banging them in, in the English third tier, whereas Ajeti had just spent a wasted year at West Ham.  Ajeti, though, was a full Swiss international, who got the move to West Ham on the back of two great seasons at Basel, where he had also gained Champions League experience.

Albian was the man the manager and scouts all wanted, a rare unanimous nomination, they were delighted to get his signature.  How you can score 26 in 32 starts for Basel, then do nothing for four years between spells at West Ham, Celtic and on loan at Sturn Graz, is another red flag.  Toney became a sensation in the EPL and a full England international.  He is currently serving an 11 month ban from the game for betting transgressions.  Red flags, eh?

With Ajeti is set to leave for Turkish football this week, the lessons from him, Duffy and Barkas, not to mention Forster and Toney, paint a picture of the many pitfalls in the sport.  It’s only easy on paper, once the whistle goes, normal rules are off.  Maybe we should stick to players Benfica are prepared to cut loose after one league start.

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  1. QUADROPHENIAN on 29TH AUGUST 2023 12:59 PM



    Add to the mix, that we haven’t signed the best player in Norway. We haven’t even signed the best midfielder in Norway. That fella, a guy we seen up close and personal and an age and level up, went to Brugges for £7m in the summer.



    I like Odin but Killie was a harsh lesson for him and us about early impact. That’s what you get with a project.




  2. When it comes to transfers and trading models Benfica’s is held up as being the ideal. Nearly a billion pounds profit, a team punching above its weight in Europe, exciting young talent signed and moved on to big leagues.



    But they started last season with no league wins in 4. €250m in debt, ground not owned by the club. President under investigation for tax fraud and money laundering.



    A new President, club legend Rui Costa, elected on a promise to stop selling their best young players. The fans wanted to keep their best players and make a serious go of going deep in the Champions League. Change the model.



    Their problem was that they had huge debts and needed the profits from the player sales to keep the club alive. Darwin was sold to much annoyance, but the real anger started when it looked like Fernandez was going to Chelsea. Even a hundred million didnt placate the fans, they want to keep him and try to win there Champions League



    Ruii Costa knew they needed to sell him at that price. But he started blaming Chelsea and Fernandez to take the heat off. The fans remained pissed off despite the absolute necessity of accepting the sale at that price



    Its a bit oversimplified and I’m happy to be corrected if anyone knows better but it tells a story about how unhappy even the most successful player trading model can make fans

  3. 11.17




    Just like when BR went .



    I find it painful to watch anytime he is on TV .



    I almost always snatch for the TV remote and change channels.




    I’m a little depressed/frustrated at what we are currently watching and I am already missing the high press ,quick throws ,quick free kicks ,and Gung-ho attacking .




    But Ange wasn’t without his failings .



    Bernabei,Ideguchi,Koyabasi,Iwata ,and Oh ,all have different degrees of failure or questions still to be answered for me .




    I wouldn’t have brought Rodgers back .




    Once you have been unfaithful in a marriage ,very few marriages can be successful and happy thereafter.



    Rodgers was unfaithful to us .



    He may have had mitigating reasons for his infidelity,but the damage has been done .




    I feel as though my daughters husband has been unfaithful to her ,and she has taken him back .




    I have no choice but to support his return .If I want to see my daughter and grandchildren.




    The most important and most difficult function within the football department is acquiring players that will improve the first 11,within budget .




    We have 2 days left to solve several positions ,this window .




    My nerve is questioning my previous optimism that we would .





  4. Toney bet 13 different times on his team losing, he would have made a fortune on our Covid season.



    Maybe he wouldn’t have been caught in the Covid season, it would have been about right if he did, but who’s to say it wouldn’t have been the season after

  5. CELTIC40ME on 29TH AUGUST 2023 1:12 PM


    When it comes to transfers and trading models Benfica’s is held up as being the ideal.



    By whom? They’ve been at it for years and have a built-in advantage of language and south American routes. With our irish heritage we seem incapable of tapping into a new age of Irish talent.



    Its a bit oversimplified



    Damn right it was.



    I’d look more at Belgium or Netherlands, with clubs who have been at it for years but who seem to have an ability to buy £7m+ players and selling for multiples. I had hoped that selling Jota would have got us the next tier up in a few places (a better than CCV CH for example) PLUS a few sensible small punts too (it’s not either/or for me).



    We need to start this process. I’m not even sure Jota was planned and we picked up a bit of luck.





  6. CELTIC40ME @ 1:12 PM,



    Well, that’s interesting.!?



    Not sure what the point is.!?



    I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with Celtic Glasgow …



    Hail Hail

  7. Like Big Wavy (12:33) I agree that for many domestic success does seem to be enough. But it isn’t for me and many others though. It’s a different level of competition and challenges, and there are no guarantees but unlike some comments I don’t see any ambition from the board on this level – now or in the past 15 years. The evidence doesn’t support it. I would not want us to spend £10m on a player and the one time we did (Edouard) I don’t think it was overall worth it.



    But what has changed in a year? We signed some younger players but also some that were ready and experienced such as Mooy and Starfelt. Now, we are only signing potential or very young players that have done well enough in their modest leagues. It’s like Jota, Starfelt and Mooy never left us and we just continued with out strategy for this summer with no acceptance of those three leaving.



    WE can’t say the board are not spending money as they clearly are – but it’s a bizarre way to spend it and is very high risk. We won the treble but the last three months of the season showed we needed some new players to kick on again.



    Despite the much laughed at Alan Hansen “You don’t win anything with kids” comment he was actually right. If you look at the experienced players in that Man Utd squad they didn’t win it with kids.



    There is zero defence or reasonable explanation as to why we have left it to the end of this window to try and secure players. It’s clear that the desired (and required) 4 or 5 players will not happen but more likely a second choice GK, an ageing or out of favour CB and hopefully this Honduran winger. That will make it much harder for us to retain the title and almost impossible to be anything other than an easy 3 points in Europe.



    We are not prepared for the season, nor is the manager and the injuries are hitting us badly. But, that only tells part of the story.



    Some fans see any constructive criticism as simply – criticism. It’s based on decades of a lack of ambition other than our backyard. If winning the SPFL and getting embarrassed in Europe is enough for you, then it’s not enough for me. With our income we should easily be able to put better sides than we have over the last 10 years in Europe.

  8. Quadrophenian,



    You see,that’s my problem,you also mention” Prospects”as in,at the moment project .Holm was voted,best player in Norway.That to me is not a project.Young Boys want 17 million,for Reider,very similar player.If we had paid for him,would you class him a project,or prospect.Lagerbielke,full International,Palma,same,Yang,same,and big successes in their previous clubs.”Projects”????


    To say Tilio is a Arzani type punt,knowing nothing about him except from what I he read from people who know,all good things,I will wait.


    Anyway,minds are closed,so this my last on the subject.Hopefully everything works out.


    Hail Hail.

  9. The problem with the projects/trading model is as you all know the manager is not that interested in projects. So he lets the scouting department do the work while he concentrates on coaching the players ready to play. How many projects actually make us money as against young first team ready? Our big sellers were never projects, they walked into the first team, improved and were sold at a healthy profit.



    Remember when Ange said in public that he needed more signings that things were going too slow? Who did he get?


    McArthur and Scales. I believe these were DD buys not the scouting department and they didn’t suit Ange’s system and really didn’t play in it to speak of.



    I hope the signings we expect this week won’t follow that model, that somehow BR will have a say in who comes in and not DD trying to impress.

  10. Tangbhoy,



    Remind me,what league was Mooy playing in?


    Don’t think it was a better league,than,Sweden,Poland,Norway,Greece,or even Korea.

  11. CELTIC40ME on 29TH AUGUST 2023 1:12 PM


    When it comes to transfers and trading models Benfica’s is held up as being the ideal. Nearly a billion pounds profit, a team punching above its weight in Europe, exciting young talent signed and moved on to big leagues.







    But they started last season with no league wins in 4. €250m in debt, ground not owned by the club. President under investigation for tax fraud and money laundering.






    thanks for that, real context to a team/club often held up as a model for us “look at benfica, they sell players for gazillions and still compete in europe”



    while failing miserably at home, and being in debt, and not owning their stadium and a degree of corruption on their board.



    ECL Quarter finals last two seasons – but that on the back of 3 full seasons 2020-2022 without a single domestic trophy,



    their advantage – direct entry to the ECL wthout having to win the league.



    I work with 2 Benfica society members, never miss a game, they would have swopped ECL runs for winning their own league and that is a fact.

  12. No worries TB. I Could Be Wrong, You Could Be Right (to paraphrase Mr Lydon)



    Tired after a long work day, I have no energy to try differentiating projects and punts.



    But I reiterate that when we signed Arzani – having seen him play in the flesh – I was not concerned re his skill but his decision-making and final pass. Tilio is more mature than Daniel but he has the same issue – mibby/hope it can be coached out of him. Thats only my opinion having watched he and Arzani in the AAMI stadium in Melbs.




  13. bigrailroadblues on

    Good morning all from Connollys. Last day here then back to Dub. Glad you are all getting along so well. 😄

  14. CHAIRBHOY on 29TH AUGUST 2023 1:23 PM



    Not sure what the point is.!?



    Benfica and Ajax are the two clubs we look to emulate in Europe. At least thats what I always thought. I cant think of anyone else.



    Ange was talking about them last season when he talked about aggressive, smart player trading being the only way to European success for clubs our size. An upscaling of the operations.



    My point was that it might have been successful for Benfica in Europe, but it isn’t popular with their fans. They want to change it

  15. Garngad to Croy on

    We are in a very similar position to 2020 although I think we were 1 point behind the Huns at the time of the first derby match and I do believe we have a better manager now than in 2020.

  16. BIG WAVY on 29TH AUGUST 2023 1:22 PM



    “I’d look more at Belgium or Netherlands”



    I dont see anyone except for Ajax who have done well enough domestically and in Europe for us to copy. A player trading model only works if it leads to success on the pitch



    PSV got beat by the Huns in the play offs last season and I wouldn’t bet against it happening again tomorrow night

  17. Frimpong – a project. signed age 18.



    We paid a 380k euro development fee to man city, we sold him for 11m euros



    He only played 21 games in his first season and 30 in the second



    Various suggestions there is 20-25% sell on fee in his contract. Market value 55m euros after 96 appearances in Germany.



    For one we get right who gets the credit ?

  18. reading some speculation on Frimpers – £55m pounds on the table from chelsea, seriously if true, we make more on sell on percentage than the original sell off fee.

  19. garygillespieshamstring on

    I don’t consider a 22/23 year old as a kid. They should be first team ready by that age.


    I look at our players that have come through the system and think that history tells us if they haven’t cut it Ion the first by then, they are unlikely to make it.

  20. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    I’m rarely aligned to Tinytim’s points of view.



    But, IMHO, his post on last thread at 12:01pm thoroughly merited the 1:17pm repost on this thread.



    TT – respect.

  21. SAINT STIVS @ 1:44 PM,



    How can that be possible?



    He left during Covid



    We can’t buy players from abroad during Covid but can sell them?



    Why would we want to sell a talented, quality player when the ten in a row was at stake;)



    Hail Hail

  22. CELTIC40ME @ 1:37 PM,



    Well, I totally agree with what Ange said in respect to being aggressive in the transfer window in order to be competitive in the Champions League.



    Yet we needed to develop our own model, one that works for us.



    We have unique challenges, we also have great advantages.



    So our model must be tailor-made



    Hail Hail

  23. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    If Ismael Soro does leave Celtic in next couple of days he’ll go with my best wishes for the future.



    By no means a favourite of mine but, when called upon I got the impression he tried his best.



    Don’t know if I can muster the same goodwill for Albian Ajeti.



    His goal in a 3-2 home win against Livingston gave me hope we had something.



    Defensive third


    One quick short pass from Ntcham to Christie


    Next quick short pass to Albian


    Boom. Beautifully struck finish from outside the box



    His pinnacle.



    Wasted almost three years since just picking up a wage.

  24. CHAIRBHOY on 29TH AUGUST 2023 1:58 PM



    “So our model must be tailor-made”



    Of course it does, it would be suicide to copy theirs or Ajax’s. We already have a tailor-made model, Ange was talking about scaling it up, not adopting a new one.



    Its what we are seeing at the moment – we’ve sold older players like Jura, GG and Starfelt and brought in younger replacements. We’ve spent a lot of money on young players over the last two windows. We’re about to spend another 5m on a 21 year old danish striker by the look of it



    The point I was making by using Benfica last season as an example is that that no model, however successful, will be popular.

  25. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    The departures of Barkas, Soro and Ajeti will bring the story of the Covid era recruitment failures to an end.



    And not a moment too soon.



    A sorry chapter in a thoroughly miserable period.

  26. CELTIC40ME @ 2:09 PM,



    Well apologies, I didn’t realise that Ange had used Benfica as an example.



    If he did, it was probably to do with size, potential and them not coming from the “top” leagues.



    Their access to the South American Market obviously is a huge boon



    Yet we have different pluses we can draw upon



    Its what we are seeing at the moment – we’ve sold older players like Jura, GG and Starfelt and brought in younger replacements. We’ve spent a lot of money on young players over the last two windows.



    Well that doesn’t sound like the new model, it sounds very like the model from ten years ago that failed.



    Also, on top of the model there must strategic planning, as was mentioned earlier.



    The model by itself won’t deliver




    Hail Hail

  27. CHAIRBHOY on 29TH AUGUST 2023 2:23 PM



    “Well that doesn’t sound like the new model, it sounds very like the model from ten years ago that failed.”



    Its not a new model or the old one from ten years ago. Its the one we’ve been operating for a while now only more aggressive.




    “Also, on top of the model there must strategic planning, as was mentioned earlier.



    The model by itself won’t deliver”



    Goes without saying. The strategic planning has brought unprecedented domestic success. The more aggressive version of our player trading model aims to bring it in Europe.

  28. Holm..hasn’t played for Norway yet..he’s nowhere near the best there !!!….Patrick Berg has 18 caps..his transfer to Lens not successful and he’s now back at Bodo….at 2 million and 20 years of age he most definitely was a punt

  29. There are 40 players in our First team squad on the official site.



    7 players are on loan and another 7 injured.



    This is not about signing even more players. We haven’t scored against Kilmarnock and St Johnstone.



    Its about Brendan Rodgers. The club should never have bought him back.



    Its about performance or lack of