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Transfer window digest

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Three matters to discuss today: players in, players out and players who stayed.

As the transfer window closed, the clear need in the squad was competition for our only left back, Greg Taylor.  There was never any doubt a player would arrive, but I am delighted (and maybe a bit surprised) we secured the loan signing of Uruguayan international, Diego Laxalt.

He will significantly bolster our effectiveness on the left, which will, in turn, make it more difficult for teams to double up on Jeremie Frimpong on the right, making Celtic far more effective.

You and I have talked through over 30 transfer windows.  I don’t think any will top ‘the Robbie Keane’ window in terms of general satisfaction, but this one comes close.  In Vasilis Barkas, Shane Duffy, Diego Laxalt, Albian Ajeti and Moi Elyounoussi, we have added five players who will be first choice in most games this season.  This is an exceptional return.  We have added more players in the past, but I don’t think we have ever added as many starters in a single window.

I know several Motherwell fans who speak very highly of David Turnbull.  His early Celtic performances have showed promise.  He is comfortable on the ball, very mobile and has a great set-piece delivery.  £3m is a lot to spend at a Scottish club but we will have scouted David more than anyone else who has arrived in recent years.  He should do well.

We got money for Eboue Kouassi – nothing like the £3m reported, but payment nonetheless.  The annual cull of youths who did not make the step up included Jack Aitchison.  Four years ago, Jack became the youngest player to represent Celtic in a competitive football game, and with true Roy Race style, scored with his first touch of the ball.  It was an exhilarating moment for us all.  Remember his name, it will appear in quizzes for the rest of your days.

Regrets?  There is one.  Fraser Forster will forever be a hero around these parts.  He has the unusual distinction of performing just as well in his second period at the club as his first, a talent some embittered pundits who scarcely put a shift in second time around would do well to consider.  He was the highest earner at Southampton when he arrived on loan a year ago; £4.5m annually.  Celtic were ready to do a deal involving the fee but the keeper prevaricated.  Still, as I say, forever a hero.

Fond farewell to Craig Gordon, Jozo Simunovic and Jonny Hayes, all of whom were part of treble successes.  Jozo is still without a club and will struggle to make the most of his talents due to injury impairment.

For me, the most surprising outcome of the window was that none of our contracted first choice players were sold, despite the economic situation.  Five agents were looking to move their clients south; my informed expectation was, at least one would have to go.

Buying and selling is a gamble, as is not doing so.  But, who could gamble with ‘the 10’?  When we report our financials soon, there will have been money for at year-end date, 30 June 2020.  That will be the last of having savings for some time, we are about to lurch into debt.

The economic headwinds look ominous.  Next year, season book renewals will not promote ‘the 10’ and aggregate supporter bank balances will be lower.  Like now, next season will also be one where the ‘supporters’ step up, perhaps not the more casual fans.

Upshot of all of this is that we are going to need to get a Champions League qualification and trading policy in place rapidly.  Celtic are better placed to meet these times than the vast majority of others; there will be better value in the player market, but only for those clubs who are prepared.

Welcome, Diego, and well played, Celtic.

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  1. SettingFreetheBears – thanks for the link. There is not really anything in that article that would contradict the fact that almost all athletes that are testing positive are not getting sick.

     

    The article kicks off with a guy getting sick who is 46 and runs a bit to keep fit. The next focal point, an NFL player who is asthmatic so has a clear underlying condition. The next guy who we are told is an ironman, is no more a pro athlete than me. You can see in the picture he is way overweight. He is a triathlete hobbyist .

     

    As I said, 100s of elite pros are testing positive without showing any symptoms. Clubs are having to forfeit games, as was the case with Kilmarnock, but do they have a single player actually sick?

     

     

    Yes, there will be occasional exceptions. but after 7 months of Covid I think the evidence is there that very few elite athletes are being taken ill even when positive.

  2. The Battered Bunnet on

    SFTB

     

     

    Thanks for posting that. I’ve been banging on irregularly for the past number of months about this. Yes, young fit people are greatly less likely to become ill with Covid-19. However, for those who do, the prospect of lung fibrosis or myocarditis is career-ending for an athlete, while the prognosis for athletes who develop so-called ‘Long Covid’ is unknown but not positive.

     

     

    Given what we know – and we don’t know a lot – we should be very cautious about the impact of the disease on players.

     

     

    All the more so given that the number of positive tests returned amongst players since the season started versus the known incidence of infection in the wider population (by antibody tests as well as PCR) suggests that the football workplace is very high risk.

     

     

    So far around 4% of the first team players at Premiership clubs have returned a positive test, and it will only increase as the season continues. This is between 5 and 10 times greater incidence than the population as a whole based on antibody seroprevalence testing and other population surveys recently published.

     

     

    It looks as though the football bubble protocol is better at spreading infection within the bubble than it is at keeping it out.

     

     

    On Eddy, I wish him well and if he gets any symptoms let’s hope they’re mild and short lasting. Given he tested positive yesterday, and given what we know about the progress of the infection, the likelihood is that he was infected before or coincident with Sunday’s match, rather than when travelling to/arriving in France.

     

     

    We need to have a plan for dealing with disruptions to the squad and the fixture list. The virus is here all season, and in all probability will only become more prevalent amongst players and the population alike in the coming weeks and months.

  3. I am gonny have a complete guess about Todays Covid restrictions from wee Nicola.

     

    Pubs etc to close from Friday for Two weeks ?

     

    At the very least…she may decide to keep Pubs open…but they must close at 6pm ?

     

    Either way…I think I am going to be unhappy.

     

    HH.

  4. Sydney,

     

     

    I think in context it was a very decent investment. The sheer ‘known, unknowns’ in front of us would mean we have to reserve some cash anyway and that would be prudent. Who knows when we go back? what does it look like? How do we go to the well again next season to hard pressed season ticket holders with job and money worries galore? etc etc.

     

     

    I genuinely thought we’d sell to help fund and in not doing so I think also shows how we’ve backed the manager in this season of all seasons.

     

     

    HH

  5. Looks like this international break will see the medical ‘experts’ challenging the ‘political’ experts for blog supremacy in terms of knowledge.

     

     

    I’m looking forward to Saturday week when the ‘management’ experts (like me) can get back in the saddle with our own large doses of deep expertise and knowledge on the matter.

     

     

    HH

  6. Statistics definitely show fit, young, healthy people have virtually zero chance of falling very ill with Covid 19.

     

     

    There are far far more dangers out there that they may succumb to.

     

     

    We have a totally disproportionate approach to this virus.

  7. deniabhoy

     

     

    I said it was a counterbalance to being too glib.

     

     

    It, truthfully, acknowledges that most but, unfortunetely, not all, young atheletes can recover quite quickly without noticeable, as yet, long term damage.

     

     

    I think the last ratio I read was that the death risk was 78 times lower in the young and fit. Those are good odds but not so much if you are the 79th young person to contract Covid.

  8. GLASGOW BHOY – that is really scary.

     

    Surely that takes the whole bubble thing out of the

     

    equation. You have Chefs, Waiters/Waitresses, other guests

     

    cleaners, anyone who could have it. It seems to me that

     

    they are disregarding advice.

  9. Adi Dassler, it was, they certainly have brand loyalty! Queensferry Road in Embra and it’s the second time I’ve been in there at the same time as another massive booking which is a bit worrying tbh. Looks like bellies full of pizza didn’t stop them though, think they won easily.

  10. Big wavy. Let’s wait and see the accounts which are due out this month

     

     

    I do hear what you say Uncertain times

     

     

    Very very few clubs have our level of cash surplus

     

     

    Level of success of transfer window can be

     

    Measured by

     

     

    1. Success of champions league qualifying Massive fail again :(

     

    2. Success at domestic levels

     

     

    Let’s see

     

    A. Accounts

     

    B. Domestic success

     

     

    Before judging transfer windows

     

     

    So far is a failure

  11. Markiebhoy, my thoughts exactly. We queried it with staff and were told it’s fine because they get tested regularly. Well that’s okay then! Bonkers.

  12. Glasgowbhoy – Thanks for the reply, but you’re right

     

    Bonkers! What about everyone else who is there!!!!

     

    Stay safe HH

  13. Adi Dassler I think they seem a mixed bag, our local used to be crap then suddenly turned much better. My mate won’t go near his one!

  14. The Battered Bunnet on

    Although it’s very early doors, I think the way the trend in the testing is going, footballers will have a similar incidence of infection as health and social care workers.

     

     

    There’s something to mull over.

  15. bigrailroadblues on

    Good morning all from Govanhill. Sober in October then a boozebender in November. Retired chap needs a hobby. 😂

  16. The battered bunnet It’s a Awefull reality that your speaking

     

    At present NSW here ( 8m population ) just had 3 new cases today after 12 days of zero new cases

     

     

    International and some state Borders here shut

     

     

    For international arrivals Of local citizens limited to 4000 a week with mandatory 14 days quarantine in an hotel paid by the traveller

     

     

    That is how numbers are low

     

     

    How on earth can international football games continue Players will get infected

     

     

    Crazy

  17. I echo TBB & SFTB’s comments and insights.

     

     

    The only thing I’m caring about ref French Eddie right now is his health. When he returns to pitch can wait.

     

     

    If ever there was a season to have a large & strong squad, it’s this one.

     

     

    HH jg

  18. I think pundits should be allowed an opinion or else they don’t have a job.

     

     

    People who love Celtic tend to be the most critical, especially as they get older. I always had green tinted glasses , even in the 90s , and my dad (and mother) were always criticising.

     

     

    I’m now a moany get in my 50s but only about specific aspects.

     

     

    I still love and obsess about Celtic overall

     

     

    Newcastle and Man U fans don’t tend to have it in for Shearer and Neville when they criticise the clubs they clearly love

     

     

    For me:

     

     

    Nicholas= 82/83 season and ‘that’ goal at Ibrox

     

    Walker = season 87/88 and league winning goals vs Dundee with 120,000 in the ground

  19. CONEYBHOY,

     

     

    The likes of Nicholas and Provan realise that to keep their jobs, they have to undermine Celtic at every turn. The sports media in Scotland know the demographic they must pander to and it isn’t the team playing in the East End of Glasgow.

  20. Odsonne Edouard

     

    @Oedouard22

     

    ·

     

    10m

     

    Thank you all for your messages of support ! I’m fine and I would come back stronger, Take care of yourself and your family

     

     

     

     

    That’s ma bhoy….

  21. Parkheadcumsalford,

     

     

    Nail on head fella. Sadly the ‘system’ dictates that it’s only anti-Celtic content that will keep the mortgage paid for these guys.

     

     

    HH

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