BRENDAN RODGERS when he beat Davie Moyes to the Celtic job last May, stated from day one that he prefers to work with a smaller squad than the rather bloated one he was inheriting from Ronny Deila.
But reducing the head-count takes time. Players are on contracts – you can’t just go around ‘resigning’ employees from their jobs.
Some players, quite a few actually were loaned out. The Celtic Development side just failed to win the league this year with Ross County picking up the silverware. Celtic’s squad though was considerably weakened as Rodgers and his assistant Chris Davies took the decision to send young players out on loan so that they could get valuable first team experience.
More senior players, who are not going to feature in the pair’s ongoing plans at Parkhead, have also been loaned out. Players like Scott Allan, Kris Commons, Efe Ambrose and Nadir Ciftci all have had loan periods away from Celtic this season.
None of these players will be at Celtic next season, or at least that’s the plan.
Rodgers wants to add quality and keep the crop of first team regulars that he has together.
That includes Patrick Roberts, who tops his shopping list either for a season long loan or a permanent deal which will take Celtic back to the Martin O’Neill era in regard to the transfer fee paid. But the money is there and so is the ambition.
“We don’t want to make loads of signings,” Davies said yesterday. “It’s knowing that there are one or two quality signings who can be brought in that can help us, develop us and improve us as a team and a squad.
“We’re obviously looking at ways in which we can improve our squad. That’s the key. Can we improve what we’ve got?
“But we also recognise the players who have been here have developed into even better players and are vital to us as well. We want to keep them and keep that continuity. As all teams will say, year on year we want to improve but we want to develop players as well.
“You’ve got to look after your own and develop players you’ve got at the club then, yes, with good recruitment can you bring in others.”
Celtic will wrap up their domestic season next Saturday hoping to have the treble and various Invincible records in the bag. They could even achieve a record points win in the league if the can take more points that Aberdeen in the remaining two matches.
Not many Celtic fans will be hoping for a Rangers win or even a draw at Ibrox tonight though.
Then it will be a short break for the Champions and then back to business, hopefully with a few new faces in the dressing room.
“Obviously with the way it works we are back in training on June 19 and the first Champions League qualifying games are early July.
“There’s a little bit of reality there that it’s not always ideal but of course we’d like to get people in and the squad together as quick as we can to get them all working together. We’ll have to see how it goes,” said Davies.
“Lee Congerton is our head of recruitment so he heads up that department.
“We’ve got scouts who work for us around Europe and we’re also looking in South America as well.
“The scouting department will cover lots and lots of players and we’ll suggest players.
“We all work together really. Something I enjoy doing is watching players if I can physically get to a game.
“If not there are video software resources now available to watch players so I’ll do that and if it ever gets closer we’ll make sure we go and watch them live.
“It’s important that the manager and all the staff are always thinking about recruitment. It’s an ongoing thing. That’s the key.
“It’s not just ramped up close to a window when you need to find a player. It’s something that happens all throughout the season that you are looking and aware of players.”
So for Celtic expect two in and maybe half a dozen out as Rodgers shapes the squad to fit his vision for the club.
Commons, Ambrose, Ciftci, Allan and one or two others will be making way for the two new Bhoys, although one could be a familiar face.