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Opportunity for Celtic to make a real statement of intent in summer window

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The summer of 2015 is shaping up to be a big one for Celtic. Ahead of them lies a transfer window that could determine their success, or lack of it, in the next Scottish football season.

There is, of course, also the Champions League to think about and the financial rewards and prestige which accompanies a productive run through Europe’s premier club competition.

Celtic will still be smarting at their 12-month absence from that stage – with only themselves to blame – and will be determined to ensure that a barren run is not allowed to stretch into a second year.

Their fate is likely to be decided before the end of August – and more importantly, before the window of opportunity for squad reshaping comes to a close.

Given the size and stature of the club, the reigning Scottish champions should be able to fend off any early advances for their more saleable assets.

Speculation has inevitably started to circulate regarding who may or may not be coming and going at Parkhead over the coming months, with gossip columns having space to fill in the print and online worlds.

Such talk will have been shrugged off within the corridors of power at the Glasgow club, with few calls of such importance made in May. Their resolve will be tested at some stage, though, of that you can be sure.

Celtic are, however, old hands when it comes to this negotiation lark and will be readying a plan of action that allows them to end the window stronger than they start it.

With there every chance that Old Firm rivalries will be rekindled on a more regular basis in 2015/16, with Rangers preparing for a play-off final in the second tier, Ronny Deila needs to ensure that domestic dominance is maintained.

In order to do that, he will want to have the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Nir Bitton, Leigh Griffiths and Stefan Johansen at his disposal – with all four having generated exit rumours and murmurings of a move south of the border.

Celtic may not be able to keep all four, while there will be other casualties along the way as Deila looks to freshen things up, but the Hoops must look to put down a marker.

If they can keep key men on their books until the Champions League qualifiers roll around, then success there should help to make them a more attractive proposition and realign the focus of those in danger of seeing their head turned by interest from afar.

We are talking about a huge club here and there is still much to be said for competing at the very highest level with Scotland’s finest, especially when the alternative is possible mediocrity within the English Premier League ranks.

If Celtic can fend off the wolves at their door and retain the core of their squad, then they will have made a very promising statement of intent.

They will have shown that they are no pushovers and that the days of top talents leaving to chase the dream elsewhere after showing an ounce of ability can be consigned to the past.

Deila can also look to build upon what he already has without wasting precious time in the pursuit of cover for departing stars, which should stand the club in good stead as they prepare to chase down every major honour available to them at home – with Scottish football betting markets likely to favour them every step of the way – while embarking on another exciting adventure abroad.

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