There has always been a debate amongst Celtic fans of who really signs the players. Is it the manager? Is it Peter Lawwell or is it the Head of Recruitment, Nicky Hammond?
Celtic’s recruitment has been called into serious question this season with over £25 million spent in the transfer window but barely any of the new signing’s hitting any sort of form to challenge for the title. With the exception of Diego Laxalt, the jury us still out on a number of Celtic’s acquisitions and the return for the money being shelled out is worrying. And this question has not just been looming this season.
£5m spent on Barkas, £5m spent on Ajeti, £3m on Klimala this season and, until recently proving his worth, £3m on Turnbull, there are more question than answers about who is responsible for signing the current crop of players.
Back when Brendan Rodger was coach, Celtic signed Maryan Shved and Rodgers press conference was telling to say the least, “I can’t say I know a great deal about him but what I have seen he is a talent and something that will probably benefit the club in the future. We’ve got about a million wingers and don’t need another one……”
Celtic’s policy has always been buy players with potential and sell them on for a hefty profit. Some work, some do not. Some of the money spent on projects does not make pretty reading and it is not just this season where money has been drained out the club:
Vakoun Bayo £1.8m
Olivier N’tcham £4.5m
Marvin Commper £1m
Jack Hendy £1.5m
Charly Musonda £2.5m loan fee
Eboue Koassi £3m
Boli Bolingoli £3m
These are just a few names that spring to mind of players totalling £15.8m and if you add on the transfers including Duffy’s loan fee that makes a staggering £36m of players in the last four seasons with zero return either on the park or back in the coffers as a transfer fee, and this does not include the layout in wages.
However, across the city, our rivals have a Director of Football, Ross Wilson, that deals with that side of the business. Gerrard identifies an area to improve the team and Wilson then provides names to pick from and it is a model that seems to paying off for them. They seem to be able to get the players on their list with minimal fuss leaving their manager to concentrate solely on the football. There is no mystery on who signs the players and no ambiguity and it seems, at face value, this works for them.
I know modelling ourselves on our rivals will fill many of the supporters with horror but this is where we are. Do we continue to spuriously waste millions and ask who’s signing the players or do we bit the bullet, appoint a Director of Football and get on with it?