Peter Lawwell has denied that Celtic have been complacent- claiming that the club has spent £35m in bringing in new players since July 2019- an unprecedented level of spending.
The Celtic Chief Executive was speaking during a pre-recorded interview for the club AGM during which he claimed that the club had kept all of its big players.
If he wishes to use July 2019 as his timeline for spending he has to also include the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal for £25m. To cover that lost over £5m was spent on Boli Bolingoli and Greg Taylor with Diego Laxalt brought in on loan in October from AC Milan to solve a problem position.
During the same period Scott Sinclair and Jonny Hayes have also left the club with the former Aston Villa winger making a huge contribution to the current run of success. As Daniel Arzani and Marian Shved demonstrate finding a winger capable of delivering 15 goals a season is no easy task.
Asked about complacency by Gerry McCulloch, asked if the club had fallen asleep at the wheel he replied:
That is not the case, if you go back again to last May we were crowned champions for the ninth time in a row, we have won the Treble Treble, next week we could win the Quadruple Treble.
Incredible success, incredible domestic success. In the summer, despite that we strengthened the squad knowing that there was going to be a challenge this year, and to a level that we haven’t done before.
We came out the window with a very strong squad and we’ve spent at the club, over the previous 14 months, July 19, to that point £35m, we’ve never spent anything like that in the past. We’ve strengthened and we’ve kept all of our big players, so that’s not complacency.
I believe that we saw the challenge coming and prepared for that. We prepared by having reserves (money) at the club, some of which were affected by the pandemic but those reserves were invested into the team to make us stronger with a manager that delivers, a track record and in addition we continue to invest into our football functions, sports science, analysis, into performance, recruitment. We are investing into football to take the club forward. No way were we sitting back, being complacent waiting for things to happen.
Later on in the interview, without mentioning Cluj or Ferencvaros (both defeating Celtic at home) Lawwell stated that the club has to reach the Champions League more often.
Reference to the strength of the squad always comes in terms of finishing the transfer window in a stronger position. In each of the last three summers Celtic have entered the transfer window in the Champions League qualifiers and ended it in the Europa League group stage.
This summer there were no new signings with the first team squad for pre-season training at Loughborough or for the three pre-season matches in France.
Vasilis Barkas played his third game for the club in the 2-1 defeat from Ferencvaros with the other new signing, Albian Ajeti sitting on the bench.
Within a week of losing out to the Hungarian champions David Turnbull and Shane Duffy were signed.
CLICK HERE for the AGM interviews.
CLICK HERE for 8th August 2019 Celtic announcement of selling Kieran Tierney to Arsenal
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