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The summer 2014 Transfer Window

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Last month I wrote about the highly-effective transfer windows culminating with the capture of Mikael Lustig in January 2012.  The list of those who arrived over the next 18 months, culminating in the signature of Teemu Pukki on 31 August 2013, is largely a catalogue of expensive mishap.  If only one of of the strikers signed during that period: Miku, Lassad, Balde or Pukki had made the grade, we would have been in better shape for the Champions League qualifiers.

Those mishaps sowed the seeds of where things went wrong recently but we brought in six players this summer, and in order to compete in the Europa League, we pretty much need five of them to command a regular starting place.

Craig Gordon is an excellent piece of business. Fraser Forster overcame almost all those doubters who would rather we bought Stipe Pletikosa in 2012 instead, but we have replaced Fraser with an equivalent, and banked the lion’s share of £10m in the process.

This alchemy is only possible due to doubts over Gordon’s fitness.  We’ll find out how well-established his recovery is in the months ahead but the signs are good on this front.

Jo Inge Berget was signed on loan, like Amido Balde a year ago, he early in the transfer window.  There is a great misunderstanding that there’s a shortage of players available early in the window.  There are lots of players available the moment the window opens.  For a reason.  Jo wasn’t wanted by Cardiff City, who he made only two appearances for since joining in January.

He was given an unfair burden on his debut, in a highly-dysfunctional performance by Celtic in Warsaw, and, a solid performance against Dundee United apart, has been one of a number of players who have appeared lost in our game-plan since then.  He has until Christmas to make his mark before he is due to return to Cardiff, but his chances will be limited by the subsequent signing on Wakaso Mubarak.

Wakaso is here on a year’s loan, with Celtic having an option to make the deal permanent, if he proves his worth.  I hear good things about him; he has pace, strength, skill but his most prominent attribute is attitude, which he has in spades.  This didn’t sit will in Kazan, where he was somewhat isolated.

Bulgarian midfielder, Aleks Tonev, bounced straight from medical couch to treatment table after his loan move from Aston Villa.  He’s now fit and will be available for selection when play resumes after the international break and I hear Ronny Deila is keen on the player.

We now know that Manchester City teenage central defender, Jason Denayer, was brought in to play first team football.  The player is highly thought of by City and Ronny, but I wouldn’t expect too much from him in what is his inaugural season of first team football.

Stefan Scepovic has the distinction of contributing 100% of the money spent on players signed by Scottish clubs this summer.  He was Celtic’s first choice striker, and, as we discovered late in the day, was wanted by scouts in Spain, so the indicators are reassuring.  His experiences over the past week have not without trauma for the player, but he kept focus and his word to join Celtic.

The overwhelming observation from our activity this year is the predominance of loan signings, which is a strategy I suspect was hatched after the ‘No refunds’ deals for Pukki, Balde and Boerrigter last season.  We will get more from some of them than others.

Taking Berget for six months was clearly a short-term fix to an immediate gap in the squad.  I don’t think we’ll see too much of him from now on.  Despite the fact that Jo didn’t make a perceivable difference during our European qualifiers, I don’t have a problem with short-term deals in principle.  We could have benefited from one for a target man.

Denayer will almost certainly return to Manchester next year, a more mature player, having pushed Efe and Virgil for a year.

Aleks Tonev and Wakaso Mubarak are here to impress, both are working for a permanent deal.  I expect Mubarak to play in his favoured position on the left, with Tonev behind him in a more central role alongside Brown and Johansen.

Ronny has been putting apples in orange crates so far this season but with a central three of Tonev, Johansen and Brown, behind Mubarak, Scepovic and Forrest (or McGregor), he’ll have the personnel to play his favoured 4-3-3.

Two first team regulars left the club, the thoroughly professional Fraser Forster and Georgios Samaras.  It was time for both to move on.  Fraser, as Southampton was the right club for him, and £10m was the right price for us, Georgios, as he had become increasingly peripheral to team plans under Neil Lennon and would have been even more out of the picture under Ronny.  Would Georgios have made a difference in our Champions League qualifiers?  There’s a good chance he would have against Maribor but the gap against Legia was bigger than 6’3”.

Pukki and Balde were sent on loan, in the hope they impress and move on.  Bon chance.  Tony Watt was sold for £1.2m to Standard Liege, who will fancy they can take Tony’s undeniable potential and turn it into an asset their manager wants to work with.  It’s been years since we’ve produced as exciting a young player as Tony but he’s now been shipped on or out by three managers.

I would still like to see John Guidette added to this list, even without European football – especially if he is prepared to stay beyond the end of the season.  The incumbent strikers, Stokes and Griffiths, will continue to get game-time, but neither is suited to the lone-striker role.

I’m not going to sell a Europa League campaign as anything like the Champions League, but it is very important this squad is ready for Europe.  Without much domestic competition (I’m ignoring Inverness and Dundee for a moment) we need to be competitive in the group stage and aim to progress to the latter stages of the competition.

Thumping Dundee United 6-1 taught us nothing, we need to mature as a team against European competition and exorcise the ghosts of Legia and Maribor.  No matter how good the new arrivals are, there’s no way they would gel well enough to allow us to do anything more than endure >80 minutes of defending our 18 yard line in Champions League football this season.

We’ll miss the money, prestige and Zadok the Priest, but the Europa League is a better level for us right now.

My thanks to Canajunbhoy, who retires after running the Quick News section for the best part of a decade.  Quick News will be back in a different format in the future.

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  1. bournesouprecipe on

    His name was Ernie and he drove the fastest no vote in the land.

     

     

    Eeeerrrrrnnnniiiiieeeeeee

  2. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    ERNIE 1211 from previous.

     

     

    The NHS is taking on more and more private companies to operate services. These include virtually every section of it with the exception of (most of) the doctors and nurses in hospitals.

     

     

    The budget is ring-fenced so there are no actual cuts. So nor will there be in Scotland.

     

     

    But the money which is allocated for paying our health providers is skimmed off first by private companies,who have little experience in anything remotely connected to the service for which they charge.

  3. the long wait is over on

    Paul ,

     

     

    Personally I’m worried that Scepovic is a HUGE plant by the genius McCoist and all his little helpers.

     

     

    Stefan Scepovic is an anagram of “Septic Sevco Fan”.

     

     

    Tell us it ain’t so…

  4. Guys………………Let’s have a truce on the politics eh?

     

     

    Let’s concentrate on the fitba’

  5. McGregor should be the first name on the team sheet.

     

     

    He’s not a winger, despite playing there with aplomb, and I suspect it will be him and not Tonev who is used centrally, so any two from Muburak, Forrest or Tonev for the wide positions.

  6. From the BBC website – and much as I love WGS, what’s the German for ‘Aye, right’?

     

     

    “Joachim Low fears his World Cup-winning Germany side might be victims of a shock result in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland.

     

     

    Low believes his team might find it difficult to get the better of Gordon Strachan’s men because of their playing style.

     

     

    Ahead of Sunday’s game in Dortmund, he said: “Scotland are the kind of team Germany have always struggled against, with their sheer commitment and their running.

     

     

    “They are difficult opponents for us. We’ve gone from being hunter to potential prey.”

  7. The Kano foundation

     

     

    folks , looking for nothing more then 10 secs of your time to go to this page

     

     

    https://www.facebook.com/Version1Ireland/app_403834839671843

     

     

    and vote for our application.

     

     

    We are applying for a grant to bring kids over from Dublin (SCP Dublin South East) including bus hire , ferry travel , stadium tour (if early enough) and a game , as well as funding our Xmas party this year for 120 kids in the CSA on London Road .

     

     

     

    Just go to the site , click vote against our application and watch the video (if you really want to ).

     

     

    HH

     

     

    Sanna

  8. Paul 67

     

     

    Any idea when a decision is to be made regarding Guidetti and from reading your article if it’s a yes is he not able to play in the Europa games?

     

     

    Cheers

     

     

    HH

  9. Steinreignedsupreme on

    Paul 67 –

     

     

    I think the management team have to impress by Christmas as well.

     

     

    We’ll certainly know by then if things are working on the pitch or not.

  10. Where’s the Tally Swede with the Brazilian ancestry? Has he signed for the Scots/Irish team yet?

  11. ernie lynch

     

    12:19 on

     

    3 September, 2014

     

     

    The companies also want to win the contract in the first place, so they offer it as cheaply as possible. That’s what presents the opportunity for budget cuts. If the Govt allocates £100Bn for the NHS but the contracts only add up to £90Bn, do you think the excess aside and maintain the budget or do they allocate it elsewhere and adjust the future budget.

  12. Pfayr from previous.

     

     

    Cheers. I hear what you are saying and agree it’s another option.

     

     

    Scepovic is another kettle of worms for me. Slightly taller than we are used to. Hopefully miles better than amido.

     

     

    I’m just not getting anything from guidetti that is worth getting disappointed over if we miss out.

     

     

    That said, I hope it does go through. It looks like it could be a decent move for both parties.

  13. I see the Evening Times is running the Have/Have nots story here:

     

     

    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/celtic/celtic-and-spfl-blown-away-by-winds-of-change-178847n.25221325

     

     

    I must remind all of you that many of us on here are part of the reason for the imbalance. For all those Sky and BT Sport subscriptions from Scotland (let’s say 9% of the UK total);

     

     

    In June 2012 “Premier League announced on Wednesday that Sky and BT had paid £3.018billion for the domestic TV rights for three seasons” http://www.bbc.com/news/business-18430036

     

     

    9% of this would be in the region of £270million.

     

     

    The BBC themslves fork out £180million for three seasons (from 2012) – http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/may/25/bbc-premier-league-highlights

     

     

    9% of this would be £16.2million.

     

     

    So if the markets were valued the same by advertisers and shaerd equitably we’d have more than £280million punds swilling around. But even if the value was lower, say half as important, then perhaps something north of £100million would be fair estimate. However each time we choose the EPL over the SPL we deprive our own clubs of much needed revenues and devalue our own game compared to that of our neighbours.

     

     

    It’s not made easy for us due to the poor poor quality of football journalism in this country, and their lack of intertest in improving or marketing our game (it’s how they make a living too) but they’d rather score points and argue with punters.

     

     

    A huge part of this has to fall at the door of the SFA, who’s arses can’t ever have been so sunburnt, owing to them having their heads suck in the sand throughout.

     

     

    Rant over!

     

     

    HH

  14. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Paul67, no need to miss out on Zadoc, I’ve goat six million of them to give away……………………………….next season.

     

     

    Catman, cool banana’s. Say hello to my bro if you see him. Offski to keep the oil flowing in the pipe. Mind and put yer breeks on the right way round.

  15. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Geordie Munro. If we get Guidetti and we get him fit I think the Celtic support will love the player he is strong but has bags of skill and an eye for a goal he also loves winding up his team mates in a nice way.It will be a great pity if the move doesnt happen imo.H.H.

  16. Bawsman

     

    12:26 on

     

    3 September, 2014

     

    Guys………………Let’s have a truce on the politics eh?

     

     

    Let’s concentrate on the fitba’

     

    ________________________________________________________________

     

     

    I second that oh how I second that.

  17. If the player brought in can be molded into a good team we will all be happy.

     

     

    It needs to click very soon for that to happen.

     

     

    The international break might work out for us this time.

     

     

    Hope for no injuries and hope we fill in the blanks asap

  18. Really good article Paul:-)

     

     

    Totally agree with your team selection…..really looking forward to seeing it on the field!!

     

     

    Fingers crossed for Guidetti

  19. weeminger

     

     

    12:30 on 3 September, 2014

     

     

    It won’t be one contract. It will be thousands. And the private companies will want more and more money spent, just like the public.

     

     

    I think the move towards private provision is driven more by ideological than financial considerations.

     

     

    They just think the market can deliver a better service.

     

     

    It’s a bit like that SNP cabinet minister and freemason, Mike Russel. He produced a book a few years ago with some Scottish Canadian hack in which they advocated amongst other things, that the trunk roads in Scotland should be privatised.

  20. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    Happy retirement,CANAJUNBHOY.

     

     

    I hope PAUL67 provides you with a decent nest-egg for your dotage!

  21. Geordie

     

     

    IMO Guidetti could be a fantastic signing for us

     

     

    Hes young

     

     

    Very talented

     

     

    Hungry (i mean to be a success)

     

     

    And seems very well suited to the Scottish game / Climate

  22. Hi Celts

     

     

    Cqn from a boat irish sea

     

    When is the game against Villareal?

     

    Its purpose?-is it next gen? As I noted young Calvin Miller tweeting he was lookin forward to it.

     

    HH

  23. Guidetti is in the last year of his contract with Man City, right?

     

    Can’t they just release him and we’ll pick him up as a free agent?

  24. .

     

     

    I Just mentioned on the Previous Article that our One or Two New BIG Strikers will make our Non Scoring WEE Strikers more Prolific in the Scoring Stakes..

     

     

    It has Happened before..

     

     

    The Moaning Marsupial springs to Mind.,.Without JVOH He Floundered at Errm..some English team..

     

     

    Summa of WeeStrikersCSC

  25. The move is driven by a fervent pain to cut out the government middleman. They would like to see you going straight to the provider and paying at that point, whether that’s with insurance or direct bill, whatever.

     

    The tory mantra is a pound is better in my pocket than the government’s.

     

    If you can’t pay, tough, should have worked harder is their simplistic view. There is no society in the tory model

  26. Great Summary Paul 67.

     

    Still say it’s 4231 hence the “lone striker”

     

     

    Brown Johansen

     

    Forrest. Tonev. Wakaso

     

    Sevco Panicfest

  27. ernie lynch

     

    12:37 on

     

    3 September, 2014

     

     

    We’ll see.

     

     

    It’s a huge concern, and I actually think the lack of coverage from the MSM when the NHS reform bill was going through parliament was a scandal.

     

     

    Good chat Ernie. Time for lunch.

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