Recruit, develop, reputation: the virtuous cycle


The thing about signing footballers who can transform you, those with real talent which has yet to be realised by the wider market, is that they are unbelievably difficult to find.  Getting this right is not the only requirement in propelling a club forward, but it is a necessary one.

You also need to transform the potential you sign into an end product.  So much talent is left to wither on the vine across European football as clubs hoard talent in an attempt to control their corner of the market.  If you can align great recruitment with manager who has the space to allow talent to develop, you are very fortunate.

Reputation counts as well.  To all the world, it looked like we picked Benfica’s pocket with Jota.  Why would they let another great prospect leave on the same path?  Benfica won big time with Jota.  They gave him to a club that was able to transform him into a £25m player, with a significant remittance going back to Lisbon.

That’s why we got Paulo Bernardo. Benfica didn’t have space to develop him but they’re not stupid.  They know he has potential and they believe Celtic can transform him into a seriously good central midfielder.

Legia Warsaw earned €5m when they sold Maik Nawrocki to Celtic, but that’s only half the deal.  Legia are equally interested in the hefty sell-on fee they hope to earn when Celtic raise his profile south of the border.

Right now we have a reputation with players, agents and selling clubs as a place where great talent can come, thrive, and navigate a road to the top.  Recruitment, development and reputation feed a virtuous cycle.

Recruiting young players with great potential in such a transparent and competitive environment is almost impossibly difficult, but we have to be ruthlessly wedded to getting this right.  Developing players like this should be easier at Celtic than almost anywhere else.  We win lots, usually with plenty to spare, who else can say this?  Do this well and getting a great reputation is a consequence.

Paulo Bernardo (21) had started two Scottish Premiership and two Champions League games before 23 December.  His four starts since then, including his visit to Paisley yesterday, where he delivered two assists, illustrate where we are as a club. Maik Nawrocki is earlier in his journey but is already showing why he is in Glasgow.  More of this, please.

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    The problem with the model is that it stalls. We sell the successes when they become performers, replacing them with those who we hope will emulate them in due course.



    In replacing performers with bright prospects, we stall the progress of the team, even if the prospect subsequently develops into an even more significant player than the performer he replaced.



    We step forward, we step back again. We don’t make progress.




    Spot on and if put to music……



  2. 67 European Cup Winners on

    I’m a Peter Lawwell fan (not many of us around) you need someone with thick skin to deal with the various factions that make up Celtic


    BUT having a strategy that you never waiver from can cost you (McGinn)


    We need a proper Centre forward. Oh is not the answer I’m not sure about Shankland or Morovski Only because I don’t watch them enough


    Kyogo us our man (thank you Japan for not picking him – idiots) but he needs proper help


    So Peter if possible a decent Centre Forward – thank you






    PS Greg Taylor is playing well but he needs a bit of cover too.

  3. Hell of a way to keep the lights on.


    Fact is since 2000 or so we have had some kind of access to European football and more often than not a route to the Champions League group stages. That should be our priority, there really is a pot of gold there, not some hypothetical policy which involves signing dozens of players the vast majority of whom end up in the dustbin of history. Gone, and largely forgotten. No no no, we have to obey Sutton’s Law, Willie not Chris…


    The infamous American bank robber who when once asked by a reporter why he kept robbing banks, he said;



    “Because that’s where the money is”.

  4. As far as the oscillation description goes, if the central point and the peaks are raised, and there’s insurance against going bust during the troughs built into the model I don’t see the problem.

  5. !!BADA BING!! re: Lingard



    Forget who he was with a season or so ago but he stood out as a quality player.



    OOPS From previous blog …Top 22/23 poster ……Big Jimmy………





    Great sense of humour ,Honest ,and smashes the cream cookies





    Happy New Year big mahn…….





    The wean got her latest xmas story of Wee Rocky…..





    There’s a book waiting to be told ……LOL





    Thank you very much Mate.


    Every day is troublesome for me trying to have a great sense of humour and trying to be honest…..



    Both of those ” Attributes” could seriously damage my ” STREET CRED”…..IF word got out ?






    God Bless the wee wean.


    Rocky ( and my previous Cat ” CHANCER” ) are both in my thoughts every day. Both their Ashes are in their wee Caskets in my living room.


    They were my Two Bhoys. Those Two Bhoys loved me more than my Two Ex Wives ever did !





    HH Mate and Happy New Year.

  7. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    I think the fans perception of our model is distorted by unrealistic expectations around the Champions League – a competition that is increasingly beyond our resources but is held up as the “benchmark of progress” by many supporters.



    I don’t currently understand the new CL format – will it be better for us? – or do we just end up with more money but lose more games?



    Perhaps the recent European Union judgement will be the strategy game changer if it opens up multi-national leagues?


    Or perhaps that judgement re-ignites the momentum behind a “European Super League” that relegates teams outside of England, Spain, Germany, France & Italy to play in some kind of second tier competition – but at least a level where we can be competitive and measure ourselves against realistic expectations?

  8. Genuine Question, appreciate feedback



    Yhe teams last two performances have been very good, we all agree.


    I’m thinking, if or when we get our “quakity replacements” who gets droppped to acommmodtate them I wonder. I am well aware of our dream to improve in Europe, but it does beg the question I reckon.


    OK, we need a new keeper, posssibly a winger but that’s it I think




  9. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Completely agree this is the correct model. The complaint has been about balance. If we only recruit talented lads with potential to be impactful in 6/12/18/24 months, how do we ensure the here and now team isn’t blowing access to the essential ECL that will enable it to continue the virtuous cycle?



    You need both a team good enough to win the league in the here and now and steady supply of new talent coming through to replace the ones we sell. Some will be closer to that point of impact (Bernardo) than others (Tillio, Kwon), but tend to cost a bit more.



    I’m happy if club policy is to provide an outflow for the likes of Benfica’s surplus talent. What we can’t repeat is this past year’s gamble of selling/ losing too many proven players (JJ, GG, Mooy, Jota, Starfelt) and expecting talented but unproven boys to replace them at the same level right way.



    Too much turnover in that time period, opening the door to hun journeymen and financial gambling. Again. If they win the league this season we will have lost the bet and it will massively restore hun strength. It didn’t need to be this close.

  10. Celtic40me 1.16pm



    Don’t be ridiculous talking as if Celtic has been successful this past 20 years. You can’t be serious.



    I also demand the right to refer to any player as a dud within 10 minutes of their first team debut. Clearly the folk running the club have not got a clue and are only running it for rangers benefit.



    Likewise I wish to reference a penny pinching recruitment strategy run by under qualified friends or family of the corrupt board along with every criticism.






    I meant to add….


    ” Wee INDY” would have loved Wee Rocky AND Chancer !



    God Bless.


    HH Mate.

  12. Paul 67 et al,



    We have a top class manager who has won trophies in England and who was just one slip away from arguably the biggest prize in club football.



    He has come to Scottish football for our European aspiration. We can now see progress, but we need a couple of players outwith the nursery model.



    This is the trade off for acquiring the best fit Celtic manager.



    Oscillation, seemingly rapid oscillation can be an undesirable phenomenon. I prefer the opposite; Palatable is want we need., and a clinical striker would be extremely agreeable.



    Anyway the only footballer I would put money on to define Oscillation was happily standing beside me in the pub @ 09.30 on Saturday morning.


    However the only Oscillation BMcC was interested in was the movement of his roll and sausage and pint from bar to gub.



    PS : Now what a player he was.




  13. Celtic40Me



    I think it is worthwhile to step back and look at the bigger picture as you have set out although a couple of points.



    If Ajax fail both PSV and Feyenoord are in competition for the title, unlike here where only one team is. I don’t know how poisonous the rivalry is between Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord fans but it would have to go some to be more toxic than between Celtic and R2ngers in the SPFL. I think that gives Ajax a bit more breathing space with their support than Celtic have in any fallow years.



    You said ” or that we won’t win the league against a team that will outspend us beyond their means”



    The problem coming with latest set of accounts is that we can spend more without spending beyond our means and that will become more of the case if we are in the CL next season.



    I think the allocation of money to cover CL failure makes sense as does developing Barrowfield, but not at the risk of failing to qualifying directly for the CL.



    Next year with additional CL money (hopefully) would be the time to set that structural spending aside but when I saw from the latest accounts R2ngers did outspend us on players (even if some were duds) but all as a team are more than capable of beating the other Scottish clubs if they have a competent manager I was wondering wtf?



    When Ange left and Brendan took over I thought given the manager and player churn (without taking account of long term injuries) and time for players to bed in, we would do well to be in touching distance of the title at the end of 2023, so very happy we are , even if only by 2 points.



    We were helped by there being an incompetent manager at Ibrox for part of this season when they were dropping points, but it will not take much for them to go through the remains of this season unbeaten by the rest, which means Celtic have to emulate, no more Killie or Hearts performances with the title possibly resting on the last two league games v R2ngers.



    We can keep on winning our games v the rest after losing, Ange did it in his first season, but there is little room to relax and if we do not win the title, it will be put down to poor judgement dictated by our player trading policy, in the summer of 2023 and this window if adding longer term value by player trading takes precedence over making Celtic strong enough on the park to go through the next round of league games unbeaten.



    We are looking a bit stronger over last 4 games and perhaps it was the defeats that produced that but with some money left to spend on players without overspending, then it would be poor financial judgement not to do so given what is at stake.

  14. IF Celtic had tried sign me some 45/50 years ago…I wouldnt have been hard to deal with.


    I coulda been a CONTENDER !






  15. bournesouprecipe on

    “ Would the kwality signings please wait in the wings , we’re only signing projects “



    Mel Brooks

  16. AN TEARMANN @ 1:16 PM,



    Thanks for the link, heartfelt and erudite – Sermon by Fr.Jim Lawlor.



    Hail Hail

  17. Latchfordsbelly 2.09pm



    Spot on



    It’s a doubly tricky one when the management change also occurs just as we have significant player movement.



    Starfelt probably was not envisaged this year. Nor Mooy retiring without replacement. In that sense Narwocki and Bernardo seem fairly good moves. There seems a few surplus in the signings but not sure all have had the chance for judgement to be made.

  18. Not every player that we develop will eventually become +£10/20 mill player. Other players will contribute to the team well below that valuation, but much higher than most if not all SPFL players. Tom Rogic is one, so was Lustig, “Broonie”, Calum MacGregor, James Forest, there are many others who came, saw and stayed. So though its important to have players who sign young and are then sold for zillions, equally important are the ones who stay and develop. Our European results have been anything but great, but, there have been many different reasons as to why that is and performance is only a part of that. On many occasions luck and refereeing performances have contributed to us losing out in lots of matches. But my main point is of course there is lots of players who don’t make it, but lots do, and contribute to the collective despite never reaching the EPL, por cierto

  19. AIPPLE on 3RD JANUARY 2024 1:49 PM


    !!BADA BING!! re: Lingard







    Forget who he was with a season or so ago but he stood out as a quality player.



    Last port of call,a 1 year deal with Nottingham Forest, £130k a week, couldn’t get a game, another player of that era ,who got too much too young, then couldn’t be arsed.HH

  20. A decade of embarrassment in Europe is a virtuous cycle? Or is selling players on for a profit our primary goal???



    Paolo Bernardo is growing as a player but he was the last to get given his chance. Turnbull, Iwata, Holm all given opportunities to stake a claim before him which gives an idea of where the coaching staff rated him. A couple of good performances yes. He looks promising to me let’s hope it continues. Nawrocki has done ok. No more no less. A vindication of the Lawwell / Lawwell abysmal transfer strategy it is not. Nowhere close.



    Jota had played 19 games in the Portuguese top flight and 17 times in La Liga. CCV over 100 games in the Championship. Kyogo nearly 100 games in La liga and well known to the manager. Great signings but not plucked from obscurity. And not signed by the Lawwell / Lawwell cabal either.



    But then I suspect this and a few recent articles are about buttering up the support for more project signings, recommended by an unsackable head of recruitment that has wasted millions and only remains in place because daddy’s the chairman.



    The performances in the last 4 games have been an improvement and I understand the good vibes are rolling. But that doesn’t mean you forget the utter dross that preceded it for most of the season. We’ve / They’ve caught a huge break with Kyogo not getting selected for the Asian Cup because it doesn’t matter who they sign as a striker -if they now do indeed sign one- they would have found it extremely difficult to bed in for crucial games v Ross County at home and Aberdeen and Hibs away. If the club is asleep at the wheel this January then the Lawwell’s should be hunted out the door if not on February 1st then without question 26th May regardless of whether we scrape our way to the title.

  21. AULDHEID @ 2:14 PM,



    Yes, spot-on analysis – the middle way is definitely the route to go down.



    Paul67, stated last week about the importance of getting back to the levels of European success that Gordon Strachan and Lenny MKI teams provided.



    Of course, we had a very different mix on recruitment then.



    More an Ange type mix than a pure moneyball approach that we have followed in the last two windows.



    We can clearly see from Gordon’s time to the present day, what works and what doesn’t, that experience and knowledge is a huge resource that must go into the recruitment mix.



    Hail Hail

  22. Nawrocki and Lagerbiele when they are up to full fitness will be good centre backs ,and I’m sure we need to stop believing what the anti Celtic say about our players,looked what they printed about the above 2

  23. THEORIGINALSADIESBHOY re: Lingard West Ham



    That’s where it was. He was decent for them.



    130k a week at NF to warm the bench. Some life.

  24. AULDHEID on 3RD JANUARY 2024 2:14 PM



    “If Ajax fail both PSV and Feyenoord are in competition for the title, unlike here where only one team is. I don’t know how poisonous the rivalry is between Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord fans but it would have to go some to be more toxic than between Celtic and R2ngers in the SPFL. I think that gives Ajax a bit more breathing space with their support than Celtic have in any fallow years.”




    I’m not sure the Erevisie is more competitive than the SPL. Ajax have a far bigger financial advantage over all the other Dutch clubs then we do over them and even if its a three instead of a two horse race Feynoord had only finished second once in the previous 8 seasons to last season.



    Our nearest rival has a decent record in Europe – we were up against a Europa League finalist not long ago, we have beaten a team that topped its EL group home and away this season. They are regularly a half decent team, although they”ve yet to get a good team and a good manager together at the same time. The game on the 30th suggests they arent any near doing it now but it will probably happen.



    Looking at it completely dispassionately I’m afraid what the fans think doesn’t have much, if any influence on the strategic decision-making. And I might be in a small minority but I think the success or failures of the Huns plays a very minor part in our thinking




    “You said ” or that we won’t win the league against a team that will outspend us beyond their means”



    The problem coming with latest set of accounts is that we can spend more without spending beyond our means and that will become more of the case if we are in the CL next season.”




    The point I was trying to make, probably a bit clumsily, was that no matter how much revenue we generate through sensible business the Huns will always be able to get near or exceed our spending. It’s in their nature to spend beyond their means to try and catch us, they cant live with being second best so unless they get sensible new owners we’ll see it as long as theres a team in blue playing out of Ibrox. it means that if we do get it wrong, like we did in 20/21 they will be in a position to take advantage.



    It might be my way of living with the stress of not winning the league but having the safety blanket of the large amount of cash in the bank means I’m less anxious about losing the league. I think if you are it makes longer term strategic decision making easier, it makes making better decisions about transfer spending easier. A longer-term horizon, and a broader perspective than winning a league in 5 months time makes for better recruitment for success in Europe. I dont want to spend to win the league this season, I want to spend to win the league this season and for success in Europe over the next 5 years. Regardless of the manager, the chairman or the board.

  25. I personally think its a much more ambitious approach. Caution would have us spending what we have on trend and tested players who come with more of a guarantee of quality but with it a guarantee of a fairly limited level off quality



    A guarantee of a lower ceiling in Europe imo.

  26. POR CIERTO @ 2:29 PM,



    Interestingly my argument earlier on in the season was we need a team of 10 mn + players to compete at UCL level.



    Now that doesn’t mean we have to pay 10 mn + for each player.



    Whether we go down the loan route, the loan to buy route, the Academy development, the Asian/value market route, the player out of contract route, the moneyball development route or just on occasion buy a quality, established player – then all that’s fine



    We can use a multi pronged attack to fill our first team group with 10 mn + players.



    We have half a dozen already and may have half a dozen more in the pipeline.



    The fact is though, we need over a dozen as, sales, injuries, loss of form and natural wastage, decimated the team.



    Hail Hail




    It’s a very different game from 17 years ago. Huge differences in finance.

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