While Rangers have decided to place their faith in veteran performers, Celtic have gone down a different avenue during this transfer window, signing up fairly raw recruits.
Former Parkhead striker Chris Sutton describes Timothy Weah, Oliver Burke and Vakoun Issouf Bayo as works in progress and concedes that Celtic’s signing policy could be construed as the more risky but he insists it could also reap the greater rewards.
Having played alongside Weah’s famous father, George, at Chelsea, memories of his former team-mate and current Liberian president offer Sutton, pictured, cause for optimism.
“Funnily enough, when he came to Chelsea, my performances improved,” said the player-turned-pundit, who was unveiled as part of the Premier Sports line-up for the William Hill Scottish Cup coverage. “We had a great relationship off the pitch, I remember one or two days out, and he actually brought me a tracksuit once. A big American basketball tracksuit – which clearly didn’t suit me! But he was a sensational player, two times world player of the year. And he had such a presence.
“It must be difficult for Timothy, having him as your father and the expectation that comes with that. But, if he has half the talent of his old man… I mean, George was coming to the end of his career when he signed for Chelsea and I still couldn’t lace his boots. He was a phenomenal player and presence. A leader and, of course, he’s the leader of a whole country now. But if Timothy has the characteristics of his dad, he’ll always feel he has a point to prove.
“He looks to be a really talented young prospect. And Bayo is coming in having scored a lot of goals in the Slovakian league. Reading what his coach said about him he is a work in progress but that is the market Celtic seem to be in. The question is whether these players will get Celtic over the line in the title race. Celtic have gone down the route of placing faith in young players and with that comes a risk.
“Burke is one who has a real point to prove. He has come into this a little bit raw but seems explosive in terms of his pace. But the jury is out on the Celtic signings. We can’t sit here and say that they are the finished article because they clearly aren’t but Celtic must have seen something in these players that makes them think they can get them over the line.
“On the opposite side of the city, Rangers have signed tried and tested Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis and while they are ageing players, the one thing Defoe guarantees is goals, if Rangers create the chances, and Davis is a player who I played with briefly at Aston Villa and he has a really creative edge to him and that is something Rangers have missed.”
It makes for an intriguing sub-plot as the season restarts at the end of the month, according to Sutton.
“They have then gone about things in different ways. Rangers have gone for the experienced players but will they have the legs? So it is interesting pieces of business from both clubs.
“The one thing I would say about Defoe, I know that some Celtic fans have said that he is getting on a bit but if Defoe had signed for Celtic, I think they would be putting a statue up of him outside Celtic Park! He has been there, done it and can finish and you know what you are going to get.”
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