Brendan Rodgers suggested yesterday that failure to sign the three or four quality additions he has sought all summer is in danger of blunting Celtic’s edge.
The Irishman cut a weary figure as he responded to questions over an exasperating transfer window. One that, with a week remaining, has brought only the arrival of 19-year-old Manchester City midfielder Daniel Arzani on loan and the completion of a deal to sign striker Odsonne Edouard. He said that two of his three top targets had now “gone” – believed to be a reference to John McGinn, who opted to join Aston Villa, and Italian defender Cristiano Piccini – and that reinforcements need to be added before the window shuts on Friday. The one top target Rodgers was able to land came in the form of a £9 million permanent deal for Edouard, who was on loan at the club last season.
At the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria a month ago Rodgers stated the need for replacements for Patrick Roberts, Stuart Armstrong as well as further “quality” signings. It was put to him yesterday whether that meant he still “needed three or four” new faces.
“Absolutely. There’s no change. I’ve been pretty clear, since the end of last season, what we need,” he said, offering a “let’s wait and see” when asked if he was optimistic about bolstering his squad before 31 August.
“So this year wasn’t a huge overhaul,” he added. “It was about simplicity in one thing, which is quality. There is a lot of talk around all the transfers. But it’s always been very clear what we needed. You need to replace what you lose in order to keep that strength – and that competition.
“I think what people may or may not know is, when you are working day to day and challenging the squad all the time, it’s about competition. It’s no coincidence that James Forrest was very good with Patrick Roberts breathing down his neck. And vice-versa. The midfield players knew, if they weren’t quite doing it, they had someone who could come in, come on and do well.
“So, if you are just off your