Ange Postecoglou has complete his first transfer window as Celtic manager as the club’s rebuild continued to gather momentum.
There were 16 departures in total as Postecoglou cleared house, raking in more than £38m through player sales alone during the window.
Big names were not immune to the overhaul, with Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie all heading south to England’s Premier League and Championship.
However, 12 players came in to replace those who left, with the deadline day signings of Giorgos Giakoumakis, Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers answering fans’ accusations that the board was not backing the Aussie in the transfer market.
“Everyone at the club has worked hard on making really good progress in this window and I am really pleased with the depth of quality we have managed to deliver,” Postecoglou said.
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“I think the squad is in good shape for the challenges ahead and I look forward to get working as a unit with the whole squad together, as one, after the international break.
“While so many players have come in, I would also like to thank the first team guys who have moved on from Celtic, for their contribution to the club.
“Odsonne and Ryan are two players who have been fantastic for the club over a number of years.
“They wanted to look at new opportunities, I am sure they will continue to have very successful careers and I wish them well for the future.”
However, while Ange is happy with the comings and goings at the club, Celtic legend and former Wales international John Hartson is worried that the dealings are showing that the club aren’t confident of catching Rangers this season.
He insists that if the Parkhead chiefs were confident of reclaiming the Scottish Premiership from their Old Firm rivals, they would have kept the likes of Edouard and risked losing him for free next year.
“I think it will rise to £18-£19m eventually,” Hartson said about Edouard on the Go Radio Football Show. “Considering he is in his last year, Celtic have done what Rangers haven’t done.
“They want to keep all their players, and are really confident of winning the league, and going into the Champions League and getting that money and everything else.
“Celtic are maybe not awfully confident of doing that, even with Edouard, and they have decided to let him go.
“I think it’s a very similar situation to Ajer. Ajer has gone to Brentford for the same type of fee.
“A lot of fans are saying it’s give and take, really. They want people at Celtic that are going to give everything for them, and he certainly hasn’t done that.”
It is a sentiment shared by The Athletic’s Celtic reporter Kieran Devlin, who compared the current squad with the one that Celtic had at the end of last season, and surmised that Postecoglou had been deal a tough hand for the season ahead.
He wrote: “If we compare the squad today with the one Celtic had at the end of last season, it could be argued a more front-foot approach in this window would have benefitted the club.
“Against Rangers on Sunday, there was no first-team option to play on the left wing, meaning Postecoglou used Furuhashi there against his better judgment. The back five in the Champions League elimination against Denmark’s Midtjylland was not of the level to seriously compete.
“Three of the eight areas of the pitch have arguably improved during this summer window, while one has remained similar and four have declined.
“Celtic finishing last season 25 points behind Rangers in the league stressed the need for major improvements to the first-team squad, yet it is incredibly difficult to argue that they leave this summer’s window better than they entered it.
“The dramatic rebuild many touted as being a necessity has simply not happened and it does feel that Postecoglou has been dealt a poor hand for this season.”