This transfer window started with Neil Lennon telling the press that Celtic wouldn’t find it a problem spending £6m on one player.
In his own words he said this…
“Could we afford to spend £6m for one player? Yes, we could.”
Now look at what he actually says. Yes Celtic could afford to take the hit financially, they are in great business health.
But the next question to Lennon should have been ‘Would Celtic pay £6m for one player?’.
I doubt he could answer as empathetically in the affirmative.
See here’s the thing, Peter Lawell is a very astute business man. He loves Celtic winning and having a very healthy bank balance. He may even prefer the healthy bank balance to the winning!
He isn’t a dreamer like Sir David Murray and is very conscience of what happened to Rangers when they went into their overspending phase.
Again let me point out Neil Lennon isn’t lying.
He is placating the fans who have been underwhelmed by what they have been seeing on the Celtic Park turf as of late. He also wants Celtic to come across as a strong institution. There is nothing wrong with either of those two things, every good manager should put the reputation of their club first.
That said the Celtic faithful shouldn’t expect any big signings soon.
The Glasgow club run to a specific model.
Buy potential at a relatively low cost, make them famous and then punt them on for a profit. Look at the transfers of Ki Sung-Yueng and Gary Hooper as being prime examples.
Then they can also get extremely lucky and spot talent like Victor Wanyama. Snap him up for £900,000 and then sell him on for £12m to Southampton. A masterstroke of transfer business.
In this regard Celtic need to scout the right talent and also need to expose these players to the rigours of Champions League football.
This system could have been bolstered had Beram Kayal and Emilio Izaguirre not suffered with injuries. They were on course to be sold on for a nice big profit too.
No doubt Adam Matthews, Fraser Forster, Mikael Lustig and Virgil van Dijk will be the next crop of stars garnering attention from the bigger sides on the continent and down south.
Now the reason for the need, or to be more specific the want, for a big signing is that the transfer policy and system has stalled in the past two seasons.
Signings such as Mohamed Bangura, Teemu Pukki, Derk Boerrigter, Amido Balde, Nir Biton, Tom Rogic and Steven Mouyokolo have either failed to inspire or haven’t had a proper chance.
The other problem for Celtic is attracting these bigger stars to Parkhead. Why would Steven Fletcher leave the EPL at the age of 26? He has proved himself in that league and if he were to leave Sunderland then I am sure other English sides would jump at the chance to sign him.
Celtic know their current place in the transfer market. They are a stepping stone to better (financially) things. This doesn’t mean they aren’t a huge club with a big fan base or have a great history. They should aim at being the Scottish version of Ajax.
With Celtic coasting in the league, players standards have slipped. But more worryingly for Celtic is that the scouting team led by John Park hasn’t had the same success they have had in previous seasons.
Now is the time for Peter Lawell and Neil Lennon to work on the grassroots and the scouting system. They have that time, as they won’t have a challenger for the league title in the foreseeable future.
There is no need for that big money signing. They have to trust their transfer policy. Maybe just refreshen the scouting network.
*Note – Celtic will probably sign a £6m player just to prove me wrong!