THE buck now stops at Brendan Rodgers when it comes to bringing in new players to Celtic.
The Irishman returned in June for a second stint as Hoops boss in June when players such as South Korean double-act Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeon-kyu, Australian winger Marco Tilio and Norwegian midfielder Odin Holm were already in the pipeline.
Central defenders Maik Nawrocki and Gustaf Lagerbielke were also heading to Parkhead in a £7.3million double deal from Legia Warsaw and Elfsborg respectively.
Rodgers rubberstamped the arrivals, but it is a different situation with Nicolas Kuhn who joined in a £3million switch from Rapid Vienna earlier this week.
WELCOME TO LENNOXTOWN…Nicolas Kuhn prepares for his first Celtic training session. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
Former goal hero Chris Sutton insisted: “Brendan Rodgers has described Nicolas Kuhn as having an excellent level of quality.
“There’s no conjecture in those words. The manager wants a certain standard of player and, judging by his own comments, that’s what he’s been given in the German. The Celtic boss made a call on quality. Not projects.
“I stated last weekend I felt Kuhn was one for the project list, but it is the opinion of Rodgers that counts when it comes to signings.
“So now it’s up to Kuhn to prove him correct. Quite simply, Rodgers has to stand and fall by signings. Every manager does.
“Kuhn is a wide attacking player and where he fits into it all will be fascinating. The vibes are he plays off the right coming inside and that door is wide open at the moment with Daizen Maeda at the Asian Cup.
“Liel Abada returned from injury just before shutdown, but that lad has had plenty to deal with this season and it’s hard to know what he’ll produce on a consistent basis.
“At £3million with plenty of starts for Rapid Vienna before arriving, Kuhn has to be oven-ready and deliver big displays from the minute he steps onto the park.”
DEAL ME IN…Brendan Rodgers has to get it right in the transfer market.
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “For all the criticism of the board over what’s being sought and what’s being bought, this one’s on the boss.
“Recruitment staff are important to help whittle down the lists when a manager gives a description of the type he wants from a certain position.
“But, once recommended, it’s dependent on Rodgers’ final judgment. That’s what will be under scrutiny here and that’s how it should be.
“Yes, it matters to a degree how much a club will spend. It’s stupid to suggest otherwise, but the board works within the model and I have no qualms about it because Rodgers knows what it is.
“He says he’s happy to work within it. So he’s got to get it right. I really don’t understand fans screaming for massive outlays when it’s been made perfectly clear this is the club’s strategy.
“And, I’ll say it again, if it is done properly, it can be hugely effective.”
Sutton added: “Celtic had to spend £6.5million to get Jota signed. Paying that little more ended up netting them £25million when the Saudis came calling.
“In the same summer, Carter-Vickers cost £6million. If the English do come knocking in the summer, I’d say you are looking at another £20million.
HEADMASTER…Cameron Carter-Vickers shows his prowess in the air in the 3-0 win over Ross County in Dingwall in November, but the powerhouse centre-back is out of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup-tie against Buckie Thistle.
“That’s really what the fans want to see. Chunky investments bringing even healthier returns. I’m fairly sure Carter-Vickers and Matt O’Riley will stay until at least the summer, but they’ll go one day and their bumper transfer fees when departing will just push the narrative of pay higher, sell higher.
“Fans just want ready-made players who can go straight into the side and make it better.
“Kuhn has to fall into that bracket. He’s back towards the riskier end of the scale if you are looking purely at transfer fee, but it’s about the quality and Rodgers says Kuhn has it.
“That’s the manager’s judgment. Not that of the board. So Rodgers has to have picked a good one, and keep finding good ones, because the buck stops with him.”
New Bhoy Kuhn is unavailable for tomorrow’s Scottish Cup Fourth Round encounter against Buckie Thistle at Parkhead which has a 4pm kick-off.
Crocked Cameron Carter-Vickers, who limped off with a muscular problem early in the second-half of the 3-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park on Boxing Day, will also be missing.
Rodgers, of course, wil also be without Japan’s Reo Hatate and Daizen Maeda and South Korea’s Oh Hyeon-gyu and Yang Hyun-jun who are on international duty with their countries at the Asian Cup.