BRENDAN RODGERS is already planning for the day when he will have to replace some of his sought-after Celtic stars.
Moussa Dembele, Craig Gordon, Jozo Simunovic, Kieran Tierney and Erik Sviatchenko have all figured in transfer reports as the window prepares to close tonight.
Rodgers insisted the club’s long-term vision to ensure the continued success of the club has to be in the establishment of a “pipeline” of players ready to come into the club in preparation of others going out.
Over the past three years, the Parkhead men raked in something in the region of £35million selling Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster and Virgil van Dijk to Southampton.
Gary Hooper (Norwich City) and Kelvin Wilson (Nottingham Forest) are among others who have brought in substantial fees.
Rodgers repeated his wish to keep his squad intact while acknowledging that the Hoops need to establish a strategy to ensure continued success while always being vulnerable to major talents being plucked by wealthier leagues.
He admitted: “It is difficult because we have got is really talented players here.
“There is a cycle at Celtic and it is unfortunate because it is one of the biggest clubs in the world, but how the game works now is that money talks in terms of wages.
“For us, we have got some fantastic players and they are playing in front of 60,000 every other week.
“But if a player gets a chance to go and play at a different level – and obviously earn the wages – then there is a question asked of you.
“Look at young Kieran Tierney, for instance. He had the opportunity to go to the Premiership last summer, but he signed a five-year deal with us and we have seen his development here.
“I am sure probably at some point that may happen. It is a difficult one because, of course, as a manager and a coach you want to keep your team together for as long as you can, create that environment of winning and keep developing.
“That is the plan. But what is more important is that we have a pipeline in place to replace players because naturally they will leave and you want other ones ready to come in.”
Rodgers is adamant he won’t be losing players in this window, with Tierney, in particular, one the Hoops gaffer believes will be content at the club for a while to come.
He added: “The kid loves it here. I said when I came in he’s top class. He’s developing very well and has so many good qualities.
“He’s a great young boy who’s living the dream. So, there’s no rush for Kieran. He’s turned 19 and is playing in a team that suits his qualities and style.
“Also, he is a supporter who’s on the pitch and you see that in every performance.”