Brendan Rodgers has issued a strong defence of Lee Congerton.
Celtic’s Head of Recruitment has been the target of criticism as successive transfer windows fail to see a strengthening of the first XI and top team squad.
Rodgers first worked with Congerton at Chelsea but it’s a spell at Sunderland that has brought most attention to the performance of Celtic’s Head of Recruitment.
So far Celtic have only made one permanent signing during the January transfer window- striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo- with most fans looking to see a defender or two signed up.
Various waves of internet speculation have suggested that Congerton is about to be dismissed or have his role reduced but that’s not going to happen while Rodgers is manager.
“I’ve never known a head of recruitment get criticised the way he does,” the Celtic boss told the Daily Record. “And it’s unfair. Whether it was John Park or Lee or whoever, it’s not an easy job being head of recruitment at a club like Celtic.
“Because the expectancy here is to do well not just domestically but in Europe – but you don’t have those resources. There are constraints and there is the finance.
“But, if you look at the likes of Benkovic, that was them. Odsonne is a big talent – one of Lee’s players.
“I remember the likes of Coutinho, Oscar, guys like that he brought into Chelsea. So there’s no doubting his eye for talent is first class.
“The regular supporter wouldn’t know the operation. And when one or two get emotional in the media and start to point fingers, that can snowball.
“It’s easy for people to criticise but he does a great job, he’s very talented. He hasn’t worked in the game for this period of time without having that talent.
“Part of Lee’s job is to find not just players for now, but to find players who are strategic for the club, who can help the club later on.
“He obviously has to scour the market and at this moment in time, in terms of recruitment, it’s probably never been more difficult.
“In terms of not just attracting players to Celtic, but in terms of finance, it’s very, very tough.
“He puts in a lot of miles, a lot of hours and of course the torch gets shone on him. But it’s very unfair because, a lot of the time, he’ll find players we just can’t bring in.
“That is the job of the recruitment officer, unfortunately. They spend many hours travelling and working. And sometimes you aren’t getting that player in.
“I know how it is now, supporters want to see that yellow bar on the TV screen saying Celtic have signed some player, blah, blah and everything is perfect.
“But there’s a lot of tireless work that goes in to looking at players. It’s then, are they available and can we afford them?
“If we can, the club will do the best they can to bring them in.
“Sometimes it will frustrate you because you know what it can give your team when you are after a certain kind of player.
“I probably didn’t hide that so well. I am not so good at hiding my emotions sometimes
But you get on with it. You respect the environment you are working in and I think we’ve done ok since I’ve been in terms of developing players and we’ll continue to develop if we don’t get in what we want.
“If there’s any message, it’s the club will do everything they can to get the right type of players who will help the squad.
“If we don’t, we have a strong group of players going in to this part of the season.”
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