Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted a full inquest with the club’s powerbrokers into the travails endured during the transfer window will be required to ensure lessons are learned and a repeat avoided.
he Irishman conceded a window that should have been “straightforward” – with the bolstering of defence and midfield with four new arrivals – ended up “not ideal” and brought a final sour note as Moussa Dembele forced a £19.7 million move to Lyon in the closing hours.
Rodgers, as he says is standard, will meet with largest shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell over the international break for a transfer window debrief. On this occasion, though, there will be more profound failings to discuss.
Losing out to Aston Villa on top target John McGinn and the situation that developed with Dedryck Boyata’s non-appearance for European games following the club’s refusal to accept a £9m bid for him from Fulham set the tone for a grim few weeks. The furores created by these sagas may eventually have been eclipsed by a training ground argument the Celtic manager had on Friday with Dembele – in which it is alleged the Frenchman was told he would “never” play for Rodgers again because of his attitude. That led to Celtic giving up on their previous stance of refusing to sell him without a replacement, while a season-long loan deal for £13m Leicester City central defender Filip Berkovic and the recruitment of midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu proved the Scottish champions’ only incoming business in the closing days of the window.
Rodgers, pictured, who this lunchtime faces Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, confessed there were “clearly things we can improve on and get better [with]”.
“We work with what we have,” was the Celtic manager’s response when asked if the squad was stronger or weaker now than at the end of last season. Stuart Armstrong, Patrick Roberts, Erik Sviatchenko and, now, Dembele have all moved on over the summer. “It’s clear it hasn’t been an ideal window for us but we’ll review it, we’ll look at the processes and everything else around it.”
Rodgers gave a straight “yes” to being asked if he wanted “to avoid having a window like this again”.
“I felt it was a straightforward window for us, and it was two-fold: keep the players we wanted to keep, then add the quality into key areas of the field. Which I didn’t think was many. But it’s never as straightforward as it should be sometimes. We’ll review it all and try to ensure in the next one we can be better. Listen, [the meeting] is nothing new. You have to review.”
Celtic yesterday announced the signing of 16-year-old midfielder Armstrong Okoflex from Arsenal on a three-year deal.