BRENDAN RODGERS is ready to kick-start his Celtic clear-out as the new season looms into view.
The Hoops boss has already spoken to some of the fringe players who will be heading for the Parkhead exit over the next six weeks.
Rodgers is determined to streamline the numbers and has revealed he has already begun his crucial face-to-face chats with some of the staff following the Irishman’s assessment of the pool of players he has inherited from Ange Postecoglou.
The returning gaffer, speaking to the Scottish Sun, admitted: “We will be looking to trim the squad. That will be the natural process. I’ve already spoken to a couple of players and I’m sure I will continue to do so over the course of pre-season.
CELTIC CLEARANCE…Brendan Rodgers is preparing to trim his first-team squad.
“You have to be honest with players. Even if it’s a tough conversation, it’s the most humane way and the most direct way to tell them the plan.
“If that’s to move on and get playing football, then that’s what they have to do.
“Those conversations have already started and will continue over the next few weeks.”
Rodgers has added Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm and Australian winger Marco Tilio to his pool while South Korean duo forward Yang Hyun-jun and midfielder Kwon Hyeok-kyu are on their way.
To counter-balance the incomings, Portuguese winger Filipe Jota has switched to Saudi Arabia in a remarkable £25million deal while Aussia midfielder Aaron Mooy has retired, despite having 12 months to run on his contract.
Left-back Adam Montgomery, who was at St Johnstone last time out, has linked up with former club captain Scott Brown at Fleetwood Town for the upcoming English League One season.
The number of senior players in the current squad sits at over 30 – and there will be offers joining the champions before the end of the transfer deadline next month.
QUESTION MARKS…Stephen Welsh could be heading for the champions’ exit.
Rodgers knows he has to shed some of peripheral performers such as defender Osaze Urghohide, midfielders Liam Shaw and Ismaila Soro and Swiss flop striker Albian Ajeti, a £5million misfit from West Ham three years ago who scored a mere nine goals in his first two campaigns at the Hoops.
All four were out on loan last term and there will also be question marks hanging over Stephen Welsh, James McCarthy and Liam Scales, who spent the previous campaign at Aberdeen.
The long-term future of Mikey Johnston is unclear with the Republic of Ireland international winger, who was at Portuguese outfit Vitoria Guimaraes last season, ruled out for three months with a back injury.
His fate could be decided in the January transfer window.
One thing is certain – there WILL be a fair amount of of movement at the treble winners over the next month and a half.