So, just a few hours to go. Some players will stay and you’d imagine that some players will leave. In recent years, the media have been left behind the curve and have waited like a lot of us to see who the manager will bring in. One in so far, with at least five more players strongly linked with a January switch to G40. All of this activity was happening before a certain sell on clause kicked in and swelled the Celtic bank account balance even more. Does that mean more signings or are the club keeping their powder dry for the summer window? Will they even spend it? Conspiracy theories will no doubt not be in short supply on social media.
Back to current activity though.
If your club signed a player who has been capped by the current World Cup holders and gained that cap under the manager who won said trophy, had played some minutes in this season’s Champions League, has made nearly 200 top flight appearances in a league consistently ranked as one of the top four in the world and you got him for a touch under seven figures, you’d be delighted, surely?
Joachim Löw clearly thought enough of Marvin Compper to give him his international debut back in November of 2008 in an international friendly against England. He was only given the last quarter of an hour or so at left back, coming up against Shaun Wright-Phillips. It may well have been that night when he first got a glimpse into what it was like to pull on the green and white hoops as the right back who played that night for Germany in the Olympiastadion in Berlin was Andreas Hinkel. Chuck in 13 caps for the under 20 side, some of those playing alongside Virgil’s new teammate and fellow centre back, Joël Matip and you’d have to imagine that he’s reasonably handy. Respected football journalist Raphael Honigstein would seem to concur. Anyone who’s ever read an issue of The Blizzard or listened to The Totally Football Show podcast will appreciate that the guy knows his stuff. Raphael describes our new centre-half as someone who is positionally smart and not one for “thunderous tackles”. No point taking Jozo’s job from him? He also adds that he’s very quick, very technical and always trying to look out for that forward ball. Sounds good so far.
Compper played at Hoffenheim previously under Ralf Rangnick, the current RB Leipzig Director of Sport, who expects his defenders to be ready for opposing forwards to play a high pressing game but to also be aware of long balls over the top. The former certainly cost the unbeaten domestic record recently so his addition to the squad and potentially the starting XI would seem to make a lot of sense. He was a key figure for Leipzig as they were promoted to the Bundesliga, and then managed to qualify for the Champions League in their first season in the top division. He was in the squad for 26 of the 34 games, starting 25 of those. He missed a game due to suspension as well as another five through injury so clearly he was seen as an important member of their squad. Don’t forget that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz only formed the club in May 2009 to try and challenge the superiority of Bayern. Hate Munich much? They could have thrown money at clubs for players in any position, £14m for Oliver Burke anyone? Compper made 79 appearances for Leipzig though and has only lost his place down to the form of Konate and Upamecano at the back. Even the captain can’t get a game at the moment due to the form of the two, so you can see why the stopper has decided to move on.
He’s not the first player to be sold on the club because of the manager but perhaps his reason for signing was slightly different from the others to date. Compper revealed Rodgers persuaded him to put pen to paper after inviting him for breakfast at his house. The gaffer was clued up about his dietary preferences, although neither party has confirmed so far whether or not the breakfast was of the world class variety.
With the new man coming in, who goes from the defence? Copenhagen have been linked with a move for Sviatchenko after punting Benjamin Verbič, a Slovenian winger, to raise funds. Having trousered nearly £4m from Dinamo Kiev, they can easily afford the reported £1.5m it would take to see the likeable Dane move back to his homeland. They were linked with him in the summer so a move would make sense on the face of things.
Depending on where you get your Celtic news, Moussa Dembélé will be for the off also if a club matches Celtic’s valuation of £21m. Throw in a Van Dijk style clause and could we really afford to say no?
Lewis Morgan would look to be the next one through the door. Fresh from a couple of goals against Dundee United, the winger/attacking midfielder will be loaned back to St Mirren and then join in the summer. A product of the world famous youth system, ahem, at Auchenhowie, he’s not scored in the top flight yet but has a goal record of better than 1 in 4. He actually made his debut against Celtic back in 2014 when a Guidetti double was good enough to win 2-1 in Paisley. The reported fee of £300k would look to be a snip for a player rated highly.
The name of Charly Musonda refuses to go away. We wrote about him back in October, feel free to have a peek here, http://www.hailhailmedia.com/charly-says/. With Rogic being out and the future of Armstrong being in doubt, a loan move for someone with attacking capabilities in a number 10 type role would be welcomed. If you’ve only played under half an hour worth of top flight football this season, the chance to win trophies and play regularly would surely be an attractive proposition and might suit the club with Morgan to join in the summer.
Could Marvin have a new man to join him at the back? Steven Caulker has been linked for a while now. Apparently he was released by QPR due to mutual consent. The QPR gaffer Ian Holloway would have you believe otherwise, saying that “He had a thing in his contract saying that if he played a certain amount of games, I had to let him go.” He was the highest paid player at QPR so maybe they fancied having his wages to make a move for a few players next month. The picture of Rodgers and Lawwell on a flight back from London last week has done the rounds on Twitter, maybe the two stories are linked? Sure, Caulker has lost his way a bit but he only turned 26 on Friday. Everyone knows that the transfer market in England is batshit crazy but he’s moved for over £20m in fees so far. He’s been capped, and has scored internationally so a free would be a decent option for the club. Could Brendan be the man to revive his career?
Chuck in the rumours about McGinn from Hibs and Hendry at Dundee, then it’ll be a busy month if all of those reported moves come off.
As mentioned above, we’ll know when the club tells us about who comes and who goes. Still, always interesting to speculate.