Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic press conferences are always insightful to listen to and observe.

Typically not one for dry or vague responses, the manager will look to give as engaging an answer as possible when communicating with the media. This was again the case on Wednesday, following the club’s AGM that was conducted just hours earlier. A range of topics were on the discussion table for Rodgers, such as the ongoing issues with VAR, Saturday’s opponents Motherwell and the players available for that game.

However, the Northern Irishman spent the most time discussing transfers, specifically in the upcoming window this January. Rodgers has made it no secret that he is looking to strengthen the squad further in just over a month, whilst also trimming the squad in the process.

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Concerning the work his club look to accomplish in the new year, Rodgers was clear on his targeted objectives. He said: “It’s a difficult window. There’s always quality available but it’s whether it’s affordable for us is the challenge.

“In my previous jobs, I’ve done good business in January windows when they have been available. It’s something that’s been ongoing through the course of the last few months. We’re looking at the possibilities of the players that we might be able to bring in.”

From these comments, it sounds as if there will be movement both in and out of the club regarding transfers if the manager has his way. It is no secret that one of the biggest criticisms attributed to the club over the past decade or so is that of too many developmental players, somewhat negatively known as ‘project’ players by disapproving supporters and the media alike.

These players tend to come in the form of young players making their first big move in the professional game. Hailing from the likes of mainland Europe, Oceania and more recently Asia, the transfer fee attached tends to be from £1-3 million in total, with the club taking on a ‘low risk, high reward’ approach to their younger foreign contingent when shopping in these particular sectors.

Rodgers in his first spell at the club – particularly in the 2018/19 season – cut an often-frustrated figure when talking about the way Celtic did their business concerning transfers. Who can forget the now infamous “million wingers” quip he made when Maryan Shved joined the club in January 2019, which may have been the final transfer nail in the coffin as he left the following month to join Leicester City.

Four years on, and Celtic have largely stuck to the same practices with transfers and the identification of personnel, though they have broadened their horizons to largely untapped markets in areas like South Korea and Japan. Despite all that transpired before, Rodgers – knowing full well the financial stipulations - made his triumphant return to proceedings this summer.

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In Wednesday’s pre-match press conference, Rodgers was once again asked about the situation regarding the club and transfers, as well as the challenges of bringing quality players to Scotland. It is fair to say he gave a surprising answer. He said: “Everybody will put the quality down to the number that you pay but that’s not necessarily the case.

“I think Virgil van Dijk was two million when he came in here, so that was good quality. It’s always a challenge because lots of players may want to play in a more competitive league or one of the renowned leagues but I think what Celtic offers here is really unique in terms of the opportunity to come and play for a fanatical fan base.”

It is clear that Rodgers is well aware of the limitations of which he is working with - especially given the league his side plays in – but the ever-widening gap between Celtic and Europe’s elite must be bridged somehow, especially in the Champions League. The question is though: how will he be able to manage this?

This is where the so-called ‘project’ players already at the club should be joined and in turn, assisted by some higher-level acquisitions both in January and the summer. Apart from the mauling at the Metropolitano at the hands of Atletico Madrid, Celtic have been very competitive in their Champions League group, yet only have a solitary point to show for their hard work and endeavour.

Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing, but two or three solid additions to the squad in the prime of their careers could have made all of the difference, especially in tight-knit games. The case in point is that of the Lazio game, where Celtic amazingly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by losing a game they could very well have won.

Look at the last two major signings that Celtic made in the respective forms of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota, who both cost Celtic over £6 million each. Both were indeed tested through the means of an initial loan deal - with options to-buy clauses included at their conclusion – though both were massive financial outlays for a club like Celtic.

Looking back even further, Christopher Jullien joined Celtic from Toulouse for around £7.5 million, whilst Odsonne Edouard cost the club £9 million from PSG. The direct correlation between each of these players is that every single one of them made a marked difference in Europe when playing for Celtic.

For example, Edouard was Celtic’s talismanic figure up front for both Rodgers and Neil Lennon, whilst the latter was helped to wins - both home and away - against Lazio thanks to Jullien’s heroics on both ends of the pitch. Jota performed heroically in both the Europa and Champions League in both seasons he was at the club, meanwhile Carter-Vickers has shown he can mix it with the best, aside from the costly Lazio mistake when in possession on Matchday Two.

Celtic have several players either currently in or approaching the prime years of their careers. If the board were to supplement players such as Reo Hatate, Callum McGregor and Kyogo Furuhashi with designated individuals aged 23-27 who can instantly improve the on-field product, then the club would improve tenfold, especially in continental competition.

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Father time stops for no one, and Celtic’s ‘projects’ will eventually sink or swim when it comes to making the grade under Rodgers’ management. Not every scouted defender will be the next van Dijk, despite it being a very good example made by the incumbent manager. Using the same argument, not every semi-calculated punt will end up like Shved, with the notable emergence of Yang Hyun-jun as a major player in recent games being direct proof of that.

If Celtic can find a happy medium of projects plus proven match-winners, then Rodgers’ second spell may not need to end the same way it did last time. Who knows, it may even last longer than you might expect, so long as he is given the tools to build a team and squad in his ideal image.

Thanks to the AGM and their existence as a PLC, the hierarchy cannot hide the riches that they have at their disposal. Therefore, it is time for Michael Nicholson and co to serve up the funds required to back the elite manager currently in office.

Quite simply, the proverbial ball is in the boardroom with the custodians of the club.