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McGowan calls out horrific strike rate of Lawwell’s transfer strategy

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Stephen McGowan has highlighted the declining hit rate of Celtic’s transfer strategy.

When Ange Postecoglou arrived in the summer of 2021 there was an urgent need to bring players in after the disasters of the previous season and the complete lack of forward planning.

Driven by the manager, acting without a Director of Football or Head of Recruitment, almost an entire new team was recruited with Joe Hart, Josip Juranovic, Carl Starfelt, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liel Abada, Kyogo Furuhashi, Giorgos Giakoumas and Jota signed up over the early matches of the season.

James McCarthy was the only failure but Postecoglou also revived Tony Ralston and Greg Taylor who had been sidelined the previous year.

The January 2022 window was sensational, ahead of it even opening Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda and Yosuke Ideguchi were signed up and in training before the season resumed on January 17. When Riley McGree opted for Middlesbrough attention quickly switched to Matt O’Riley, an inspired move.

In May 2022 Mark Lawwell was announced as the Head of Recruitment and Scouting, apparently he had been doing a similar job at Manchester City but evidence of that is hard to summon.

Ben Siegrist, Alexandro Bernabei, Sead Haksabanovic and Oliver Abildgaard were signed, none were named in the 25 man squad registered with UEFA for the Champions League.

The Jota and Carter-Vickers deal were converted from loans to permanent moves but the decline in quality and starters was underway.

Summarising in the Daily Mail, McGowan notes:

Celtic will point to the examples of Jota, Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk and   Jeremie Frimpong and all that cash in the bank and say they’re doing okay. Efforts to snap up a feeder club of their own have been frustrated by the football authorities.

They can’t get their B team into the senior leagues for love nor money. In Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate, meanwhile, they have more assets to sell.

Study the last three transfer windows, however, and the hit rate of Ange   Postecoglou’s first season has slowed.

Of the 23 players signed since the summer of 2022, Jota has delivered a tidy return by moving to Saudi Arabia. Cast an eye over the rest and only Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston are guaranteed first-team starters. None of the nine players signed this summer look oven ready.

On this subject, Rodgers picks his words carefully. There was a hint of something bubbling under the surface when he owned up to craving one or two more players in the last window; most managers did. And, as Rangers and Aberdeen have also  discovered, recruitment is the hardest thing to get right.

The return of Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki will probably help. Come the January window, however, head of  scouting Mark Lawwell will come under pressure to prove to disgruntled   supporters that his status is based on something more than his impeccable  connections to the club chairman.

Three out of 23 is a horrendous success rate. There will be a clamour for January signings but with the squad already bloated some players will have to be moved on before any starters are brought in.

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  • the maister says:

    don’t even talk to their fanbase. It’s a
    “Take It Or Leave It”
    But they know people will want to turn up for a game at the weekend and so they are covered, effectively.

  • Martin Blackshaw says:

    Nepotism springs to mind with the Lawwels. Between father and son, they’re ruining everything Ange established and undermining the reputation of the club in European competition. But once again, I blame Rodgers as well for being like a little lamb and accepting idiots picking his recruitments for him. What a mess!

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Rodgers won’t do it for long Martin…

      He has already started the subtle digs –

      That’s the first picture I’ve seen of Mark Lawwell – He looks nothing like Daddy Pete…

      But he’s VERY VERY like him when it comes to picking players though !

  • SFTB says:

    “On this subject, Rodgers picks his words carefully.”

    He picked this word very carefully. The word was No.

    It was his reply to the direct question about whether he had been disappointed by the club over the provision of players this window. For someone who often speaks with dog whistles, he could not have been clearer. He said he is always disappointed when he doesn’t get all of his targets but he would not be drawn into the blame game.

    There are enough Celtic fans who will disbelieve this clear outline of his view and will interpret his words as meaning the opposite of what he stated clearly.

  • Martin Blackshaw says:

    I think the main concern for me is that the manager has now stated a few times that he doesn’t pick the players who are recruited. What kind of manager would put up with a slavish situation like that. After all, if these projects fail, and they don’t look particularly talented thus far, then it’s Brendan Rodgers’ reputation that goes down the toilet along with the teams ambitions. Ange Postecoglou would never have allowed other people to recruit players for his team, that’s why he was so successful.

    • TicToc says:

      I wonder if that’s also why he left?

      Editor: I think it would be a factor, Ange could see the very limited ambitions of Celtic as highlighted by installing the Chairman’s son in a key job that he is hopelessly underqualified for, a bit like Daddy.

  • billy johnson says:

    Looks like we’re going back to pre-ange.surely getting players in at start of transfer window is proven to be logical. Let them train with new teammates and get to know the surroundings. On a positive, we’re top of the league, with players on the way back from injury

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