BRENDAN RODGERS is remaining focused amid transfer speculation as the Premiership looms into view with the big kick-off due on Flag Day against Ross County at Parkhead three weeks tomorrow.

The returning Celtic boss will be without three of the stars who helped the club make world history with an eighth treble last season.

Canada World Cup right-back Alistair Johnston will be sidelined following an ankle operation, Portuguese winger Filipe Jota has left for the riches of Saudi Arabia and Australia international midfielder Aaron Mooy has retired with 12 months still to run on his contract.

WATCHING BRIEF…Brendan Rodgers keeps an eye on his players at training.

All sorts of names have been flying around with Rodgers having money to spend to strengthen the squad and so far there have been modest outlays to bring in Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm and Aussie winger Marco Tilio.

Others will follow, you can be assured of that.

In the meantime, the Irishman is fairly relaxed at the team’s pre-season training camp in Portugal.

Reacting to sales talk, Rodgers said: “There’s nothing pending at the moment. People talk about players coming in, but I think it’s very important to look to keep your best players when you can.

“The two guys [Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda] signing along with Callum McGregor is a fantastic boost for the squad.

“Kyogo and Daizen have been outstanding players for the club, so to tie them down is great business and also for Callum to extend his time by another five years is absolutely brilliant news.

“He’s such a pivotal player now, he’s the real heartbeat of the team. If we can get more strength in it will put us in a great place to take on all the challenges for this season.”

PARADISE…Filipe Jota thrived on his two years at Celtic.

Reflecting on Jota’s switch on a reported tax-free £10million-per-year deal to Al-Ittihad, Rodgers, speaking to the media, added: “Jota was a great servant for Celtic and he enjoyed his two years here. There were so many great moments and he loved his time at the club.

“He has been given a life-changing offer and for a young guy at 24, when you see the numbers, it’s a very difficult one for him to turn down. So we respect that.

“You see the number of players who are going to Saudi Arabia to play and over the course of the next three to five years, that will continue to grow.”

All of this, of course, is no concern to Rodgers who has vowed to see through his three-year contract and add to the seven domestic trophies he won first time around.

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