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. Paul67 et al



    In the year 2020-2021…


    mmmm there’s a song in there somewhere methinks



    But it wasn’t all bad, we’ll always have Dubai…


    We might have been in dire straits


    But we were still twistin by the pool…


    It doesn’t get better than that




  2. VINNIETHEDOG @ 2:30 PM,



    Yes, didn’t understand fholk stating that Odin was Norwegian player of the year and Norway’s best midfielder.



    I don’t watch much Norwegian football but seen their NT play Scotland and seen us play Bodo, so knew he wasn’t close to their best.



    It is unfair to talk up players in this fashion, not only for the support but the player himself



    Two mn on a development fair enough, if he’s better than our “B” team prospects, then one for the future.



    Hail Hail

  3. CHAIRBHOY on 29TH AUGUST 2023 2:49 PM





    1 eijit here uses it. Constantly.



    Vetlesen, ex-Bodo, was top midfielder in Norway. Went to Brugges for £7m.



    Odin, to be fair, was one of 100 under the top boy longlist. An obviosuly good young player but not ready yet.



    Doesn’t help to bump up our punts like that. He is what he is. I hope he’s a success.




  4. BIG WAVY @ 2:54 PM,



    Exactly, we have a quality set up to develop footballers and we are investing in that improve the infrastructure



    Allow our young players to come in and develop their potential



    Hail Hail

  5. CELTIC40ME @ 2:28 PM,



    Well, having grown up in the Stein era, I don’t see these times as unprecedented.



    Though it has been very enjoyable



    So earlier I made the point, we have had recent successes and recent failures.



    If it isn’t a new “model” as some of us thought, then surely the existing model needed heavily reviewed to eliminate past failings and ensure what Ange said about being competitive in the Champions League comes to pass



    With all due respect, selling older players and bringing in younger replacements, fails to understand the complexity of squad building and is neither a viable strategy plan nor plan.



    Hail Hail

  6. All players are punts, if one of the posters has perfected the formula for buying players, please contact the club with your information as there is still a few days to go. 😉



    A striker looks high on Brendans list.




  7. Paul67



    Though I was in favour of signing Toney over Ajeti, I can understand the metrics that were used to result in the purchase of the West Ham player. His contrasting form between Basel and West Ham could mirror Sutton’s with Blackburn and Chelsea and, maybe we could have worked the same trick. However, spare me the “red flags” suggestion. The idea that we turned Toney down because we knew of his betting habits will not fly. Unless he was betting under his own name with Dermot’s betting firm, we knew no more than Brentford did and probably less than Peterboro knew. Despite his lengthy ban, Brentford will not have regretted signing Toney. He has overpaid his transfer fee already and will do that even more so when he is bought from Brentford at the end of his ban.



    As for Barkas having impresses- who noticed him. He didn’t shine in our inept home draw with them and he did not figure in most match reports. He had a few smarter saves in our away defeat but I don’t recall anyone commenting that the goalie was outstanding. I was impressed by several players from the smaller clubs that put us out- Elyounoussi at Molde, The brothers with Ferncvaros, big Sollbakken at Bodo but nobody at AEK stood out. Have any of that team gone on to have stellar careers?



    Shane Duffy was the epitome of what we were and are still crying out for. Similar to James McCarthy, he was an EPL experienced, hardened pro and as far from a project as you could be. And yet, like James, he stank the place out, albeit for different reasons. Both, despite being “non-projects” as some of the definitions would have it, turned out to be bad projects because James was not fit to play and Duffy, unfortunately, was and was allowed to play……..badly.



    I accept the proposition that recruitment was hard but there were several keepers who had guested here in the SPL on loan from English clubs who would have done a better job and cost much less than £5m. I am thinking of Bachman @ Killie & Ross, now at Watford, Freddie Woodman @ Aberdeen now at Preston. I am not claiming they were Celtic class or what we are aspiring to but neither was or is Barkas.

  8. KLV- BREAKING: Mathias Kvistgaarden ‘very close’ to Celtic transfer with Danish star ‘ready’ to make life-changing switch

  9. “KEVINLASVEGAS on 29TH AUGUST 2023 3:11 PM


    Saying bid rejected Bada, not close.”



    “!!BADA BING!! on 29TH AUGUST 2023 3:33 PM


    KLV- BREAKING: Mathias Kvistgaarden ‘very close’ to Celtic transfer with Danish star ‘ready’ to make life-changing switch”



    CQN at its best !!!

  10. CHAIRBHOY on 29TH AUGUST 2023 3:10 PM



    If it isn’t a new “model” as some of us thought, then surely the existing model needed heavily reviewed to eliminate past failings and ensure what Ange said about being competitive in the Champions League comes to pass



    I’m not sure what “heavily reviewed” means but Ange talked about about a change and thats what we’ve seen in the last two windows. Its not as radical as some would like but it has changed, in line with what Ange talked about. We’ve sold three older first team players at their peak and replaced them with younger players who can become better and, eventually command bigger transfer fees.




    “With all due respect, selling older players and bringing in younger replacements, fails to understand the complexity of squad building and is neither a viable strategy plan nor plan.”



    With all due respect I’m not sure thats correct. The examples of Benfica and Ajax would suggest it isn’t.



    II’m with Ange- if we’re to emulate their success in the champions league a similar player trading model is absolutely necessary

  11. Prestonpans bhoys on

    “Brondby had reportedly held off for a £6million move but the latest report suggests a deal in the region of £4.3m is “close” with all parties close to agreeing a deal.”



    Don’t know why we’re after him. One goal in five games this season and nine last year including conference league.



    Prolific doesn’t spring to my lips, project does…….

  12. Lucky Cody



    “We brought in Rodgers and furnished him with 7 projects with none being first picks in an Ange team that needed reinforcements.”





    This myth is growing. None of these players are in any different position to Alistair Johnston, bought to fight for the RB slot with an Anthony Ralston who had been, back then, recently impressive. Johnston was given a chance and through a series of aggressive hard working performances nailed the slot as his own. He will need a challenge from a player better than Anthony Ralston to maintain or improve that level.



    We must credit one of the 7 as being, of necessity a first team starter. With Starfelt being sold, either Nawrocki or Lagerbielke was going to be established as the next CCV partner. The prices paid for them should have put them out of the prospects category anyway, but, unless you thought or think Kobayashi or Iwata were going to hold down the CB slots, then one of these guys was and is a first team starter. Currently due to Maik’s injury, it is Lagerbielke but, in the longer term I wouldn’t like to put money on who will nail it down.



    The problem is that posters are using the term project or punt without any agreed shared definition. It can mean anything from a player who is incapable of playing football, Amido Balde, to a player bought for the B team (Jonny Kenny), a player who is not good enough to be with Celtic (Willo Flood, Du Wei), a player who is too injury prone to help the first team (Moyokoulo, Boerigter), a player swinging the leg and pretending he is really rubbish so he can be sold back at a loss having made his money (Rafael Scheidt, Ajeti), or the many who are good solid pros but fall just short of Celtic standard (Soro, Ebbouie, Shiavtchenko and maybe David Turnbull) or those who break into the first team but are not necessarily going to kick on enough (Christie, Armstrong, Ki, Jenz).



    I have been told that Ajer was not a project but I insist he was and fits most descriptions used. I have been told that Kolo Toure, Roy Keane and James McCarthy weren’t but they played but they played respectively in 17, 13 and 27 games each for Celtic. Whatever they were, they were not regular reliable first team picks in any season for Celtic, therefore projects, by default and failed projects at that.



    I do away with this less than helpful category by stating they are all projects- no matter their age, transfer fee or lack of it, or the league they came from. We have had failed projects from the EPL (Lljungberg, Toure, Roy 9not Robbie) Keane & Gravesen), Bundesliga (Comperr, Toljan) Ligue 1 (Julienne) and Spain (Scepovic, Nouinoui, Miku) and we have had successes from Japan (Kyogo, Hatate), Australia (Rogic) and Bulgaria (Petrov)

  13. bournesouprecipe on

    Summer deadline signings – with Ange the busiest bhoy



    2014/15 – Scepovic and Guidetti on loan in August.



    2015/16 – Jozo in August,



    2016/17 – Gamboa in August



    2018/19 – Mulumbu and Benkovic in August.



    2019/20 – Lee O’Connor & Frimpong in August



    2020/21 – Laxalt in August



    2021/22 – Giakoumakis, Jota and Carter Vickers in August



    2022/23 – Abildgaard in August



    Mythical CSC

  14. One wee word of praise for our Youth Development model. I was pleased to see Tobi Oluwayemi and Matthew Anderson, loaned out to Admira Wacker in the Austrian 2nd division. Coupled with the two we sent to Fleetwood (Lawal, Montgomery) , we are offering them a chance to shine at a level much better than our 5th tier football, before deciding what they can offer us.



    I know people have been bemoaning the B team’s record this season but we have gutted that team of all the older more experienced players who may have a Celtic future and replaced them with 16-17 year olds who are having their first year of playing against adults. It is not a great strategy if you are at all bothered about winning Div.5 (South) in Scotland, and why should this bother you? It is a much better strategy for retaining promising youngsters and showing them a potential first team path if they can manage the bridge option between Lowland League and Scottish Premiership & Europe.



    I hope we can find a way to persuade Rocco Vata to do the same and extend his time with us by playing regularly for a loaned club at a decent level.

  15. It appears I can’t update the page unless I’m logged on – last post I could see was 2.30 🤔




    He plays across the front 3. Lots of apperances as left or right wing

  17. garygillespieshamstring on

    If you are a follower of the Celtic blog, we are offering a crazy bid for the Danish striker while if you look at Indy celts, Lawwell’s influence is going to cause us to mid out on the player because of Celtic making insulting low ball offers to the selling club.



    I give up.

  18. Alistair Johnston was a Canadian international who played at the world cup.


    To say he was brought in to challenge Ralston, is laughable. He was brought in to be no1, right back.

  19. Prestonpans bhoys on

    CELTIC40ME on 29TH AUGUST 2023 4:28 PM



    Thanks for the info mate. Never heard of him, then again scouting is not my forte, just think £4+m is a bit on the expensive side but if he joins let’s see what he brings to the party!

  20. A simulated pre-draw test.



    And the outcome churned out was a brutal one for the English teams – especially United and Arsenal.



    Both in pot two, the Red Devils were pitted against Harry Kane’s Bayern Munich, seven-time winners AC Milan and Scottish giants Celtic in a staggering group of death in Group B.



    As for Mikel Arteta, he must prepare to try and qualify for the knockout stages despite facing boyhood club Barcelona following their fiery pre-season showdown, a blockbuster Battle of Britain with Rangers and a hostile trip to Turkey to take on Galatasaray.

  21. Generally now, if we’re paying anything over £5mill we like to have them on loan for a season to make our minds up, Jota & CCV, anything under that figure, or close to it, we buy. So I would hazard a guess that anything like a seasoned pro of fairly good quality will be a loan deal, and our recent record on those is good, por cierto

  22. Whether it’s a high volume of daft punts (not the band) or an incoherent horn for old gold, they are both equally in need of being replaced.



    A coherent plan, as evidenced by Brighton for exmple (their ideas only & not lift and shift !!):



    Tke the bits that work in our context and solve for problems (e.g our pathway to first team)



    Data, data data insights on players. Including assessment of their ability to settle.


    Consistent playing philosophy. Not Lennyball to Angeball to Brendyball


    Succession planning, not random stockpiling of youngsters.


    Meaningful experience below first team (loaned out). We need to think hard on that.


    First team minutes in lead up to succession plan.



    Trade – surplus – trade up = Team threshold rises….2m to 5m to 8m to ? players in.



    E.g Caciedo = Ecuadorian obscurity to Brighton to loan Beerschot to Brighton regular to Chelsea…..




  23. First team minutes in lead up to succession plan.







    Like what Ange did after he won the league at Tynecastle.



    Leading to a current mantra “angeball tailed off and was less effective”.

  24. This midfield is far too lightweight for CL competition, maybe a couple of EPL loans in ,which I don’t like unless we have a fee to buy,when their Squads are announced for the season.