BRENDAN RODGERS has explained why he is in no rush to splash millions of Celtic’s cash in this transfer window.
The manager is aware the champions have money in the bank – the figure £70million has been reported – but he has adopted a realistic approach to the adding to his first-team squad.
So far the only recruit has been German winger Nicolas Kuhn for a modest £3million from Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna.
With the clock ticking towards Thursday’s 11.30pm deadline, there is the anticipated clamour from Hoops fans for some big-name, headline-hitting signings to help propel the side towards their twelfth title in 13 years with a Scottish Cup also targeted.
A BIG HAND…Brendan Rodgers and the board are singing from the same hymn sheet.
There have been misinformed reports concerning the manager providing a list of quality players only for the board to stubbornly refuse to back his judgement in the market with hard cash to make the deals materialise.
The section of the club’s followers are anxious about the perceived situation, but Rodgers is quick to dismiss their fears.
The Irishman, who celebrates his 51st birthday today, said: “Supporters are right to ask that. If you promote as a club you have the money in the bank, then they know the money is there.
“But we’re all the same, we want what is the best for Celtic. We want quality players in, but we know there has to be a balance between young up-and-coming players and players who are ready made. We are very aligned on that.
“Yeah, I speak and communicate with them really well, particularly with Michael Nicholson and Chris McKay. We have regular communication, regular meetings, as much as people want to promote this, we’re absolutely on the same page.
“I know what we need to do to improve the team and the squad. If I could click my fingers and do it that would be great, but football doesn’t work like that.
WELCOME TO CELTIC…£3million recruit Nicolas Kuhn arrives for training at Lennoxtown.
“So, it takes a bit of time, but our relationship is very strong. I will always demand we have the best players we can possibly have here, and if that means pushing the limits then I will always do that.
“But I will always respect where we’re at as a club and it was one of the things for coming back here. For me, it’s not about the numbers or the number of players. It’s about having a squad that is competitive and you can take one player out and put another of quality in.
“The board guys run the club and the finances and run it very well. My demand will always be to get the very best players that we possibly can.
“And if there are ones who aren’t better than we already have, I don’t see the point in bringing them in.”
Rodgers, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’s very difficult. The money’s there, but that won’t happen. If you’re bringing in a £20million player then you’re taking a £20million player’s wages.
“That doesn’t work here sadly. We’re not in that ball park.
“That figure [£6m-£7million] is realistic. I think we’ve done that. This isn’t new. You look before when they signed Carter-Vickers or Jota for £6m-£7million. The evidence is there that they do that. But £20million?
“I’m just looking at good players. The money thing is irrelevant to me. As you’ll see some duds. I only look at the level of player I can get to. I don’t necessarily say: ‘Give me a £7million player’.
ROARING SUCCESS…Cameron Carter-Vickers has been money well spent after his £6million move from Spurs in the summer of 2022.
“He might not be as good as a £2million player who has a capacity to grow.
“So, for me, it’s about the level of player who’s going to come in and improve us and not just sit in behind someone. They have to really compete.”
The Hoops boss has put birthday celebrations on hold to prepare his players for the visit of Ross County tomorrow with the team holding a five-point advantage over their nearest challengers who have a game in hand.
Philippe Clement’s Ibrox side face St Mirren in Paisley earlier in the day with a 12.30pm kick-off, so the Hoops will know exactly what is in front of them by the time the action gets undeway against the Dingwall club.
The prize at the end of a successful Premiership campaign is a place in the revamped 36-team Champions League where the financial rewards will soar with UEFA predicting 33 percent rise in TV revenue which will be spread among the participating clubs.
THE FINAL FAREWELL…Filipe Jota scores the last goal of his Celtic career in the 3-1 Scottish Cup triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle in June – a month before his £25million switch to Saudi Arabia.
Prize money has yet to be ratified, but there will be upwards of £40million heading for the Parkhead coffers if Celtic win the 54th championship in their history.
Rodgers is well aware of the boost it would give the club and added: “I understand the need for progression and I understand 100 per cent what the team needs in order to improve. I don’t want to be in a rush to bring in a player, it always has to be the right player.
“And also I want to be here for a period of time, as long, of course, as I’m successful, so I want to create an opportunity for young players to come through here.
“Everyone talks about signings and I always say you might have someone within your academy, but you need to have the space for those payers to flourish and develop.
“So, yes, I hope we can add to the group, and I’m confident that we can, but also I want to develop the talents that are here and continually grow them.
“A big part of my philosophy has always been to have faith and trust in the players that we have. In the modern game there’s always a shout for new signings and it looks great on the yellow bar on the telly saying Celtic have signed a new player.
“But that soon wears off if he’s not any good or won’t improve you. For me, a big part of what I do is maximising what we have.
“I know what we need to do in the squad. I know clearly the profile of player that’s needed here to help us going forward. And if they’re available then I’m sure the club will do everything they can to help us on that.
“If not, then we’ll look towards the summer.”