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Column: The Biggest Issue Celtic Face This Transfer Window

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As the summer transfer window approaches, excitement is building among Celtic fans about potential new signings.

Brendan Rodgers Celtic
Soccer Football – Scottish Cup – Final – Celtic v Rangers – Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain – May 25, 2024 Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

However, there’s an urgent need for a squad clearout that manager Brendan Rodgers must undertake to make room for incoming talent.

Celtic is currently burdened with several players who have not lived up to expectations.

Rodgers faces a significant challenge in reshaping a squad that is bloated with players from previous recruitment cycles who have struggled to secure regular Game time. Last summer’s signings, such as Gustaf Lagerbielke, Maik Nawrocki, Odin Holm and Yang, exemplify players who haven’t made the desired impact. Additionally, Kwon, who spent the latter half of the season on loan at St Mirren—with the Paisley club interested in extending his loan.

Marco Tilio, brought in from Australia last summer, has already been loaned back, indicating a mismatch in expectations and performance — more so on the training field with Marco struggling to impress.

Further complicating the squad are legacy issues from previous managerial tenures. Despite some successful signings under former manager Ange Postecoglou, several players have not met the standards required at Celtic. Notable examples include Yuki Kobayashi, whose contract runs until 2028, and Liam Shaw, who signed a pre-contract while Neil Lennon was manager and is contracted until 2025 but has spent most of his Celtic tenure on loan in England’s lower leagues.

James McCarthy’s situation is particularly illustrative of the challenges facing Rodgers. McCarthy has not featured in any squad this season and with his contract expiring next summer, a decision on his future is imminent. Similarly, Sead Haksabanovic, after cryptic social media posts and a subsequent loan to Stoke City, is likely to be encouraged to find a new club. His contract, however, extends until 2027, adding a layer of complexity to his potential exit.

Mikey Johnston, despite a successful loan at West Brom, faces uncertainty over his future role at Celtic, with his contract running until 2026. Likewise, Hyeon-gyu Oh, overshadowed since Adam Idah’s arrival, has a contract until 2028, and Johnny Kenny, currently on loan at Shamrock Rovers, is due to return in the summer with his deal expiring in 2027.

Rodgers now faces the dual task of integrating promising new signings while making tough decisions on existing players.

This clear-out is essential not just for balancing the books but for creating a squad that can comPete consistently at home and in Europe.

The summer window provides an opportunity for Rodgers to stamp his authority on the squad, and bring in the experience and quality he’s been pushing for — easier said than done.

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