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It is fair to say that this has been a peculiar summer transfer window for Celtic, at least in terms of the optics.

Following the success of last season - with their domestic success guaranteeing Champions League football and the riches that come along with it – many expected the team and its hierarchy to move the needle a little on incoming players and the fees paid in doing so. This belief was further solidified when Celtic identified and recruited former manager Brendan Rodgers as Ange Postecoglou’s replacement at the helm of the football club.

Rodgers, who was coming off the back of a dismal final season at Leicester City, had planned to take a year-long sabbatical following his dismissal at the then-Premier League side, who failed to stay up after cutting ties with him. Following intervention from Dermot Desmond and Michael Nicholson, however, that time away from the game was cut drastically short, and Rodgers made his grand return to the Celtic hot seat. Why would he come back if he was not going to be sufficiently backed to do the job, especially if that was one of the reasons why he left the club in the first place?

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Fast-forward a little over two months, and there have been several signings, though perhaps not to the initial standard and fee that many were expecting. It is important to highlight that Celtic have money to spend, with reports at the time of Rodgers’ second unveiling circulating that over £30 million was available to the new manager in terms of a war chest for new signings. Furthermore, Celtic have inadvertently created a bit of a target on their back, because of two separate incidents that are linked to one another.

This is firstly down to the sale of winger Jota to Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League for £25 million. When deducting Benfica’s sell-on clause that they inserted onto the player's deal when he signed permanently last year, Celtic made around £19 million of profit on the forward’s move to the Middle East. A quick but very public transfer, it was clear that Celtic were in the money from very early on in proceedings.

In turn, they made their financial position abundantly evident to the London Stock Exchange. The club said directly following the big-money sale of Jota that: “Celtic has enjoyed a strong on-pitch performance in the 2022/23 football season having won the domestic treble.

“In addition, it has enjoyed a successful year in generating gains from player trading. As a result of such gains, Celtic now expects earnings for the year ended 30 June 2023 will be significantly higher than previous expectations, which were formed before the conclusion of the season and prior to certain player disposals.”

The stage has been set for Celtic to spend and strengthen their squad. Many believe that they have not done this so far this window, saying that the club has refused to spend a feasible amount of money to improve the on-pitch talent. But do they have a reliable case with this sentiment, especially given Celtic’s multiple new arrivals?

So far, Celtic have brought in Odin Thiago Holm, Marco Tilio, Kwon Hyeok-kyu, Yang Hyun-jun, Maik Nawrocki and Gustaf Lagierbielke, as well as making their obligatory purchase of Tomoki Iwata permanent, following his initial loan spell at the club. According to numerous sources and figures, Celtic have spent over £15m in terms of incomings. Seven players have joined the club in the window thus far, with Polish defender Nawrocki being the most significant outlay of expenditure at around £4.3m, his partner in the backline Lagerbielke costing around £3m, which was a record sale for his previous club Elfsborg.

These figures represent value for money, as well as a medium-scale outlay on players such as Nawrocki, Lagerbielke and Holm (who cost around £2.5m). Outside of 26-year-old Iwata, all of these players are on the younger side of their 20s, with plenty of room to develop and improve over the next few years. However, they could all very well be labelled as “project” signings by the same token, depending on who you ask or what your viewpoint is on the transfer policy.

Many were perhaps hoping and expecting that the £6 million-plus figures that Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers commanded in order to join would be the going rate for players, and that these types of signings would make up the main strengthening of the team this summer if Celtic loosened their purse-strings.

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Of course, this could still happen, with just under two weeks left to go in the window. Following the defeat to Kilmarnock last Sunday, Rodgers spoke about the need for quality additions to be recruited by the club going forward until the close of the market next week.

He said when asked about incomings: “Yeah. I think it’s always been about quality; I’ve said that before. The team needs match-winners, it needs quality. That’s something hopefully we can do.”

These additions will undoubtedly cost premium rates, so some serious spending will have to take place if Rodgers is to get what he wants. Celtic have already spent relatively good money this summer with it being spread out and distributed over a number of deals. Yes, seven players have been brought in, but just how many of these players are of the “quality” and “match-winning” variety that Rodgers needs to compete, especially on the European stage?

Whilst it is perhaps unfair to label the club as being reluctant to spend money so far in this second Rodgers revolution, it is notable there hasn't been any pushing past the £6m figure that represents a serious and significant investment at this level. Time will tell if this is remedied in the remainder of the window.