Celtic eye three arrivals as they step up transfer activity

After much speculation over his future, Stuart Armstrong has finally signed an extension to his Celtic contract. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
After much speculation over his future, Stuart Armstrong has finally signed an extension to his Celtic contract. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
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Celtic manager Brendan 
Rodgers will step up his transfer market activity next week, with Patrick Roberts set to be the first of as many as three new recruits before the end of the month.

Winger Roberts is expected to rejoin Celtic on a season-long loan after persuading parent club Manchester City to sanction another spell with the Scottish champions.

Rodgers hopes to further strengthen his squad with another central defender – he has been strongly linked with South African international Rivaldo Coetzee of Ajax Cape Town – and possibly another central striker.

The return of Roberts, a key figure in Celtic’s unbeaten domestic treble-winning season during his initial 18-month loan spell, will be warmly received by supporters.

Asked if there has been fresh movement in Celtic’s pursuit of the 20-year-old yesterday, Rodgers replied: “There is, but it’s always private. We’ll see. You don’t have long to go in the window.”

Celtic can now all but count upon close to £30 million in revenue from the Champions League group stage this season after their 5-0 win over Astana in the first leg of their play-off round tie this week.

But Rodgers insists that has not altered his other signing targets which he will only pursue after the second leg in Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

“No, our plans are very much the same,” said Rodgers. “We know what business we want to do and we will look to do that. We can only think of that once we complete the job on Tuesday.”

Celtic did conclude one piece of business yesterday with 
Stuart Armstrong signing a new two-year contract with the club after months of speculation over his future.

The Scotland midfielder’s deal runs until the summer of 2019 and Rodgers believes it suits both the player and Celtic.
He said: “It is a win-win.

“Every negotiation, whether it is one year, five years or two, every party has to be happy. This is one where he has extended his time here. It is two years and everyone is happy.”

Rodgers accepts that Armstrong’s ultimate ambition remains to secure a move to the English Premier League.

“I totally understand that and I have been at that level,” added Rodgers. “It is always about timing, though, and I felt with Stuart this wasn’t the time. While he is here, he is at a huge club and he has everything that goes with being a Celtic player.

“We have seen players in the past, looking at it from afar, leaving here and going to clubs in England that are nowhere near this size. But it is about game time and money. It is hard to deny someone when they can go and earn three or four times the money.

“You can say that you have 60,000 supporters here, Champions League, blah, blah, blah. But when you are 60 that is not going to buy you a loaf of bread or your milk. So I can understand it but we also have to do what is best for 
Celtic. There will have been compromises on both sides, so it will be win-win.”