Brendan Rodgers has admitted Celtic have been unable to improve their squad for “a number of transfer windows” as he continues his search for suitable January recruits.
The Scottish champions have been linked with both Dominic Iorfa of Wolves and Porto’s Fernando Fonseca as they seek to strengthen their options at right-back.
But Rodgers insists Celtic may not make any further additions this month if the available targets do not meet the criteria he has set to enhance his first-team pool.
Celtic are seeking a long-term replacement at right-back for Swedish international Mikael Lustig, who is out of contract at the club this summer. Costa Rica international Cristian Gamboa has struggled to impress as Lustig’s deputy and Celtic now have concerns over 20-year-old Anthony Ralston, who needs a scan on an ankle injury picked up in Saturday’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Airdrie.
“We have an international right-back [Lustig], an international back-up [Gamboa] and a young international [Ralston] who has been playing as cover. It’s not rocket science, if you want to improve in that position or any other position.
“It’s not always about spending money, but then there are some positions…
“We have areas of the field we have wanted to improve over a number of windows now. If we can’t get the ones we want, them I’m really not about stockpiling players. If we can’t get the type we want, then we don’t do anything.”
Rodgers claimed 23-year-old Iorfa, who is out of favour at Wolves and whose contract there runs out in June, is “not one that I’m aware of”. He was less dismissive of the link with 21-year-old Fonseca, valued at around £2 million but currently playing for Porto’s B team, stating simply: “Nothing to add to that, really”.
Having seen January loan signings Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah make their debuts against Airdrie, Rodgers is still waiting for the completion of Ivory Coast international striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo’s £2m move from Slovakian club Dunajska Streda. The 22-year-old has yet to receive full international clearance as his work permit application is processed.
“I think there are other elements to it,” said Rodgers. “I am only guided by the club, really. Hopefully it will take place soon.”
Celtic will again be without Kieran Tierney for tomorrow night’s Premiership fixture at home to St Mirren with Rodgers confirming the left-back is not expected to return to full training until the start of February as he recovers from a pelvic injury.
Rodgers, meanwhile, has ruled out a return to St Mirren for midfielder Lewis Morgan. The 22-year-old has been unable to force his way into the Celtic first team since his move last summer and will be allowed to leave on loan this month.
Hibs and Sunderland have also been linked with Morgan and Rodgers says the player is seeking a change of environment.
“We’ve spoken about the idea of going on loan but he has a number of possibilities,” added Rodgers. “He loved his time at St Mirren and it’s nothing against the club or manager. But speaking to him and his agent, if he moves out then it will be somewhere different.
“I haven’t heard anything from Hibs. There is quite a bit of interest around him. We’ll see where he ends up. He might even end up staying put. He’s a good boy who has been unfortunate here. The players who are in his position have played well and been consistently available. He is at the age where he needs to get games into his legs again.”