Celtic summer transfer window reflections

Here, we look at how Celtic can reflect on their transfer dealings over the past few months.
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Ahh… Deadline Day. 24 hours that has every avid football fan gripped to their phone in anticipation as they await news of potential comings and goings at their club.

It simply wouldn’t be the same without some late drama.

The Scottish transfer window slammed shut last night with clubs across the country conducting business right up until the Midnight deadline.

And it proved to be an incredibly busy and exciting window for followers of Scottish football.

It was a hectic 24 hours, most notably for Celtic, who saw three players arrive at Parkhead yesterday in the shape of Giorgos Giakoumakis, Jota, and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

Heading through the exit door were Leigh Griffiths, Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and Lee O’Connor and Scott Robertson as Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou freshened up his squad.

Hoops fans will be delighted with their summer transfer activity as the club added 12 new recruits.

It was always going to be a significant summer of change at Parkhead following on from their failed 10-in-a-row bid.

Gordon Smith reckoned Celtic could be “psychologically drained” as a result and a huge turnover of players seemed inevitable.

With new Aussie Head Coach Postecoglou taking over the reins, he has finally managed to stamp his authority on the playing squad after a less than convincing start to his tenure.

Celtic have since addressed and strengthened in all areas of the pitch. Although disappointment was the overriding feeling following Sunday’s narrow 1-0 defeat in the first Old Firm match of the season, in the grand scheme of things it might not turn out to be the worst result for Celtic.

What players did Celtic sign in the summer transfer window? Osaze Urhoghide (£207,000), Liel Abada (£3.60m), Kyogo Furuhashi (£4.86m), Carl Starfelt (£4.50m), Joe Hart (£1.08m), James McCarthy (free), Josip Juranovic (£2.70m), Liam Scales (£540,000), Giorgos Giakoumakis (£2.25m), Jota (loan), Cameron Carter-Vickers (loan)

The first two players to sign up for the Postecoglou revolution were Sheffield Wednesday duo Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide at the beginning of July. Both are yet to really taste much game-time.

Israeli international Liel Abada followed, making an instant impact as he scored on his debut in the first-leg of Celtic’s Champions League second qualifying round against FC Midtjylland.

Special Japanese talent Kyogo Furuhashi’s arrival was hailed as a real coup, and so it has proved

Furuhashi also netted on his debut against Czech side FK Jablonec in the Europa League before celebrating a hat-trick in the 6-0 rout of Dundee just three days later. It so far looks a shrewd piece of business bringing him on board.

Carl Starfelt was next in the door after the defender left Rubin Kazan. Brought in to soften the blow of losing mainstay Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford, Starfelt has endured a mix start to life in Scotland. The Swedish defender was at fault for allowing Rangers star Filip Helander a free header to score the winner in Saturday’s Old Firm Derby.

The goalkeeping department was certainly one area of weakness that Celtic desperately needed to address. Vasilis Barkas has flattered to deceive and barely made a save of note following his big-money move from AEK Athens last summer, while Scott Bain has also looked less than convincing.

Postecoglou has instead turned to former England international Joe Hart to solve his goalkeeping crisis. The ex-Manchester City shot stopper has started every game since his arrival and looks destined to keep the gloves for the foreseeable future.

Midfielder James McCarthy is still lacking match fitness and as of yet has still to really make an impact but the Republic of. Ireland international brings undoubted quality and composure on the ball.

Josip Juranovic is another player who brings proven international experience to the table. The right-back currently finds himself as first-choice in the Croatian National side and his performances for Legia Warsaw this season have certainly caught the eye. It will be interesting to see how he settles into life at Parkhead over the coming weeks.

Celtic will hope to unearth another young gem in the shape of promising 23-year-old defender Liam Scales. After making 50 appearances for Shamrock Rovers, Scales was described as “the hottest property in the League of Ireland” in July, so Hoops fans will be excited to see if he can live up to that billing.

That brings us to the final hat-trick of signings with Greek striker Giorgos Giakoumakis brought in from Dutch side VVV-Venlo on a five-year-deal to fill the void left by Odsonne Edouard. Somewhat of an unknown quantity to Hoops fans, Giakoumakis arrives with a lofty reputation after finishing the 2020/21 Eredivisie campaign as top scorer with 26 goals.

Portuguese winger Jota became signing number eleven from Benfica on a season-long loan deal, with Celtic having an option to buy. At just 22 years of age, he has gained experience of playing in Spain’s La Liga for Real Valladolid and is a player that has the potential to excite Hoops supporters.

It took until the final minute of the transfer window for Celtic to announce they had brought Cameron Carter-Vickers in on a season-long loan from Tottenham Hotspur. It looked as though a potential move for the defender was hanging in the balance until the closing moments as the Hoops managed to complete the necessary paperwork in the nick of time to get this deal over the line.

Carter-Vickers has struggled to make the breakthrough at Spurs, instead spending time out on loan at no fewer than six English clubs. His most recent stint with AFC Bournemouth last season was a success and Celtic fans will hope he can add a bit of steeliness to their rearguard.

Which players left Celtic? Scott Brown (free > Aberdeen), Jack Hendry (£1.35m > KV Oostende), Olivier Ntcham (free > Swansea City), Vakoun Issouf Bayo (£1.44m > K.A.A Gent), Kristoffer Ajer (£14.13m > Brentford), Marian Shved (undisclosed > K.V Mechelen), Jonathan Afolabi (loan > Ayr United), Ross Doohan (loan > Tranmere Rovers), Scott Robertson (loan > Crewe Alexandra), Leigh Griffiths (loan > Dundee), Lee O’Connor (loan > Tranmere Rovers), Ryan Christie (undisclosed > AFC Bournemouth), Odsonne Edouard (£14.67m > Crystal Palace)

As for players leaving Parkhead, perhaps the most noteworthy is that of striker Odsonne Edouard. It had long been rumoured the France U/21 star was attracting interest from a host of clubs down South and abroad.

Speculation surrounding his future was finally put to bed yesterday as Edouard signed a four-year-deal with Premier League side Crystal Palace for a fee in the region of £14m which could rise to £18.5m.

Nicknamed “French Eddy” by the Hoops after joining from Paris Saint-Germain, he can look back on his four-year spell in Glasgow with great fondness after scoring 88 goals in 179 appearances.

He was a pivotal figure in helping Celtic achieve the Quadruple Treble, but the big challenge now for Edouard is to prove he can continue that impressive scoring streak in arguably the biggest league in world football.

After 14 years, skipper Scott Brown opted to take up a player/coach role with Aberdeen, while playmaker Ryan Christie also called time on his Hoops career after completing a move to English Championship side AFC Bournemouth.

Centre-half Ajer sealed his £14m move to Premier League newcomers Brentford in July and the Norwegian has hit the ground running with the Bees.

The 23-year-old has yet to taste defeat in his three starts to date and has earned rave reviews for his performances.

Leigh Griffiths swapped the Hoops for a return to Dundee on loan that will likely aid his chances of a recall to the Scotland squad providing he can show glimpses of his best form. Only time will tell but his Hoops career might well be over.

Scotland cap Jack Hendry originally left Celtic to sign a permanent deal with Belgium side KV Oostende but after just two months he has taken a further step up by joining Club Brugge.

As for the likes of Marian Shved and Vakoun Issouf Bayo, they were never given a proper chance to showcase their credentials. Youngsters Ross Doohan, Lee O’Connor and Scott Robertson will hope to benefit from their loan spells and return with a view to breaking into the first-team.

Manager Ange Postecoglou today expressed his delight at the club’s signing activity, stating: “Everyone at the club has worked hard on making really good progress in this window and I am really pleased with the depth of quality we have managed to deliver.

“I think the squad is in good shape for the challenges ahead and I look forward to get working as a unit with the whole squad together, as one, after the international break.”