THE JANUARY transfer window always had to be considered 'phase two' of Ange Postecoglou's Celtic rebuild.

Phase one has already brought gems such as Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota to the club as well as tangible success in the League Cup, yet questions still endure.

Despite 12 new faces arriving in the summer - probably too many for one window, as the manager himself has admitted - there remains serious squad depth issues in terms of quality available to replace the bonafide first-teamers.

January is not traditionally a month Celtic do major business, preferring loan deals in recent seasons, but this campaign not only requires additional backing for the new manager's sake but for the potential Champions League windfall awaiting the Premiership winners at the end of it.

With such a crucial opportunity arriving to strengthen the squad for a title race that requires a six-point deficit to be overturned, as well as a tilt at the Europa Conference League and the Scottish Cup to come, TCW ponders four key questions on the eve of the transfer window...

Point of order: Yellow names on any squad depth charts indicate a player unlikely to be contributing many first-team minutes over the rest of this season, barring serious injury issues. Red names denote an injured player.

1. What's the Celtic squad look like now?

Celtic Way:

Celtic have six wingers with four of those justifiably considered first-team options so far. Karamoko Dembele's involvement is an unknown as Postecoglou was complimentary about him during pre-season but he has been out injured since then.

The central striker role has three 'vying' for it but, in truth, even with acknowledging glimpses of Giorgos Giakoumakis have been fleeting it is quite a steep drop-off from Kyogo to the others.

As it stands Liel Abada has shown an aptitude for filling in up front when Kyogo is absent but that is where squad depth comes in - if James Forrest's injury worries continue and Abada has to fill in up front, suddenly the seeming surplus of wingers doesn't look quite so good, does it?

Perhaps the most glaring area for depth improvement remains central midfield. Callum McGregor, David Turnbull and Tom Rogic are all veritable first-teamers while Nir Bitton's recent renaissance shows he has a role to play too.

Beyond that there are still question marks over James McCarthy's suitability and Ismaila Soro has played only marginally more often than Liam Shaw and Ewan Henderson. The latter, surely, would benefit from a loan spell if reinforcements are brought in.

Celtic Way:

There is still a gap for at least one energetic box-to-box presence in there, though. It's likely Ryan Christie would have saw plenty of game-time in there had he stayed at Parkhead - especially after Jota's arrival - and his departure is arguably felt most in the limitations it put on Postecoglou's tactical flexibility in midfield as much as anything else.

In defence, left-back is fully stocked with Boli Bolingoli one of the main names tipped for the exit door while, despite Christopher Jullien's stalled return from injury, centre-back is actually fairly strong too. Right-back, against all pre-season expectations, is as sturdy as it gets with Josip Juranovic and Anthony Ralston contending for game-time there.

Between the sticks Joe Hart has been pivotal since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur. His back-ups - Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas - do have their positive attributes, particularly on the ball, but are not quite at the same level overall. A lengthy absence for Hart would give many fans the jitters, yet it is rather unlikely the club recruit a fourth (fifth if you count Conor Hazard) goalkeeper without at least two departing.

First priority: Central midfielder (box-to-box)

Second priority: Forward cover (ideally able to play central and wide)

You can forget about: A back-up goalkeeper (in all likelihood)

2. What will the players heavily linked with Celtic bring to the table if they sign?

Celtic have been primarily linked with a trio of Japanese players: Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Daizen Maeda.

Hatate - as discussed in both early September's J1 League scouting report and a more detailed look last month - is capable of playing numerous positions.

Despite everybody and their granny calling him a left-back, he has actually played in central midfield more than anywhere else and would help add to the options in that area as discussed in the depth chart above.

Celtic Way: Reo Hatate's most-used positions at the time of our scouting reportReo Hatate's most-used positions at the time of our scouting report

Nonetheless, he could conceivably cover both full-back slots and both wings if required. That versatility could be invaluable to Postecoglou as he tries to challenge on several fronts as well as combat injury and availability issues.

Similarly, Ideguchi profiles as a decent and mobile option in there.

After a failed move to European football and a serious injury, a second bite at top-level football with Celtic would be viewed as somewhat risky from the club's point of view.

However, as TCW tactics writer Ross Goodwin broke down in his scouting report of Ideguchi, the context of his career matters and under Postecoglou's guidance the 25-year-old could provide an intelligent solution to the perceived lack of mobility in the central third.

Celtic Way:

The third name is arguably the most exciting. Maeda played under Postecoglou at Yokohama F Marinos meaning he already knows the demands of the Greek-Australian and what is required to thrive under him.

The 24-year-old is used to playing mainly off the left wing but can also operate through the middle and is right-footed, giving the manager the option of using him anywhere across the frontline.

His speed, awareness and eye for goal (he was the J1 League's joint top scorer in the season just finished) suggest he would help deliver on the second priority from section one.

Scouting reports: Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Daizen Maeda

3. What about potential outgoings?

Let's revisit the depth chart for this. The potential ideal outgoings list - assuming, of course, that there are suitors - would likely include Barkas, Boli Bolingoli and Albian Ajeti.

With the addition of the three J1 League players and the departure of at least some of those mentioned above, the updated depth chart (with the likes of Moffat back with the B team) would look something like this:

Celtic Way:

Any loan moves for the likes of Hazard, Henderson or Shaw would presumably depend on additional recruitment; Celtic aren't really in the situation were more players, or even the same number, can leave as come in. The depth of quality simply isn't there yet.

But although they need new recruits, it's not about quantity. As the first window showed, that doesn't solve problems as much as it creates new ones.

The argument that Celtic might need up to six new faces holds water - really, it does - but the reality of the January window is such that it could well be closer to half of that number who will check in at Lennoxtown.

READ MORE: How the perfect Celtic transfer window plays out and the three stars whose time is up

4. How far ahead do Celtic think?

Two names that come to mind are Hearts defender John Souttar and AZ Alkmaar winger Albert Gudmundsson. Both are available on pre-contracts and both have been linked with the move to Glasgow.

Even if any deal were to be a traditional pre-contract with them joining at the end of the season and not the club paying a nominal fee to get them in now, both appear to fit the dynamic Postecoglou is looking for and it's never too early to start thinking ahead.

Celtic Way: Click the image for John Souttar's scouting reportClick the image for John Souttar's scouting report

In that sense, the question marks over the loan deals of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota will remain. Both reportedly contain an option to buy but the key questions, beyond if the players want to stay in Glasgow, is when to activate such clauses and whether the figures attached represent value for money for the club.

The pair have emerged as key performers since their deadline-day arrivals - indeed, both appeared in the top five of the latest edition of TCW's Power Rankings with Jota topping the pile.

Celtic's priority, however, has to be gearing up for the second half of this season first. Why? There are potentially 40 million reasons.