Is last season’s recruitment hindering Celtic’s progress?

Many fans have questioned whether Celtic were well enough prepared for this season’s Champions League endeavours. There is definitely room for improvement in the Celtic team and there is a school of thought that last season’s questionable recruitment has contributed to that.

The players signed in the first season under Ange Postecoglou have shown some natural progression and development in their game with the likes of Reo Hatate, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Liel Abada and Matt O’Riley all showing improvements in their game.

However, when you look at the signings from last season, it is hard to argue that case for the majority of them with most of those signings – bar Alistair Johnston – not showing the successful progression that the aforementioned four players have displayed.

Here is a look at some of last season’s business, as we wonder whether or not Celtic’s recruitment was hit or miss:

Alexandro Bernabei

The Argentine was signed with the expectations of becoming Celtic’s starting left-back, filling in a problem position with a promising, high-quality youngster. However, the reality of Bernabei’s time at Celtic has been a far cry from what was expected.

Bernabei has struggled to nail down a starting position at Celtic due to the resurgence of Greg Taylor. He also hasn’t shown any signs of improvement in the near future, with no clear development in his game since he first signed.

Opportunities so far this season have come at a premium for Bernabei, with the fee Celtic initially shelling out to Lanus now looking like a poor financial decision.

Sead Haksabanovic

The Montenegrin is currently out on loan at Stoke City after a lacklustre first season in Glasgow. He was brought in to provide high-quality depth from the bench. Despite impressing in bursts, however, he was far too inconsistent to really make an impact as Celtic Park.

After a very public venting of his frustrations on Instagram, Haksabanovic will most likely leave on a permanent deal once his loan at the Britannia Stadium ends.


Yuki Kobayashi

Kobayashi was signed to provide competition for Cameron Carter-Vickers and Carl Starfelt who were the centre-back pairing at the time. However, he looked far from the composed figure Celtic fans thought they were getting, with poor performances against Hearts at Tynecastle and Rangers at Ibrox leading supporters to believe that Kobayashi wasn’t Celtic quality.

He was most recently left out of the Champions League squad and has only shown signs of getting worse since he joined the club.

The three signings outlined above are an example of some poor recruitment by Celtic, backing up the initial point that the majority of signings made last season haven’t progressed how the club would have expected.

It could be argued that the only player recruited last season who’d now be expected to start is Alistair Johnston, which is not exactly good value for the near £11m shelled out on new players.

The knock-on effect of this poor recruitment has meant that Brendan Rodgers’ first transfer window really had to include some players who could make an immediate impact. Of last night’s starting XI against Feyenoord, Gustaf Lagerbielke made the cut due to a defensive injury crisis, whilst Luis Palma made his first start for Celtic.

There is no doubt that some of Brendan’s new recruits will become important members of his side, but the lack of successes from last season’s recruitment has undoubtedly hindered the overall development of the treble winners.


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