South of the border.

Recruitment is key for all clubs, or so you would think. If the budget is tight, clearly it’s important to try and buy wisely. Sure, every single player coming into the club will have an element of uncertainty about them but a good scouting operation will try and negate the risk as much as possible. Eyebrows may have been raised when the manager swooped for Scott Sinclair in August but he’s been head and shoulders above the rest of the footballers in the country this season and has thoroughly deserved all of the personal awards he’s lifted. Aston Villa finished 13th in the Championship, scoring less goals than they conceded. Perhaps the man management wasn’t there in terms of Sinclair, but their loss is clearly Rodgers’ and Celtic’s gain. Gamboa has been decent, Barcelona away apart but then no one really covered themselves in glory that night. You could argue that De Vries hasn’t been a great signing but if he’s forced Craig Gordon to lift his game and up his level of performance, then that’s no bad thing. Toure hasn’t played much lately but his impact at the club shouldn’t be underestimated. Moussa Dembélé has been a fantastic addition considering how little he cost, especially when you think of the money being spent and wasted down south.

When Giannelli Imbula left Porto to join Stoke in February of last year, becoming City’s and Portuguese football’s record signing in the process, the chairman, Peter Coates couldn’t hide his delight. He’s on record as saying that “I always pray it’s going to work, because you never know. He was well looked at before we did anything. We did a lot of homework. We are delighted with the start he’s made. He’s had two good games and to come in and start like that, we’re very encouraged. It’s a key position and he’s a key player. And we’re keeping our fingers crossed it’ll work out well for everybody.”

Everyone’s definition of a lot of any subjects at all, homework included, is obviously very different. Mark Hughes has said this week that it hasn’t worked out for all involved and if there is any interest in the midfielder, they’re happy to consider letting him go for the right offer. Given that Imbula has only played 23 times for the club in 15 months, they’ll have to take a significant loss. No big deal though if you have the riches of the EPL flooding into your coffers.

You’d imagine that Mike Ashley has probably had a smile like a Cheshire cat for a while now, without taking into account what is happening across the city. When Spurs offered him a touch under £30m for Moussa Sissoko in August of last year, and in the process making a £28m profit for someone that he’d signed in 2013, he’d be forgiven for disappearing into a back room, pulling his trousers down and getting down to business.

It’s always going to be nigh on impossible to get EPL players to relocate north but there are ways to steal some of the best players that the top 2 leagues in England have to offer.

Moussa Dembélé is probably the best example. Due to cross border compensation rules, the club were able to pick up the young Frenchman for £500k. If he’d chosen to join a club in England upon the expiration of his contract, the cost of that deal to that club would have been so much higher.

Back in the summer of 2015, as with every transfer window, rumours were rife about who the club were looking to try and bring in. Danny Ings was one of the names mentioned as a possible, if improbable target. In the end, he chose to join Liverpool. As per the rules of the EPL, the Merseyside club were required to pay compensation to Burnley for the striker as he was under the age of 24. The clubs couldn’t agree on an amount due for the player, so it was left to the Professional Football Compensation Committee (PFCC), to decide how much money should change hands between Liverpool and Burnley. Nearly a year later, in the April of 2016, the tribunal decided that Liverpool should fork out £7m for Ings, which was the largest ever compensation figure paid for a player in the history of the game. If Ings had chosen Celtic ahead of Liverpool, roughly £300k would have left the club’s bank account.

A common misconception though is that the compensation money paid is a transfer fee. The fact is that the money awarded is to the player’s former club is for the development and training of the player. It makes sense, the idea being that clubs should be rewarded for bringing through young players and that they should be encouraged to continue doing so. There are 8 different factors when the PFCC determine the compensation amount that should be paid by the new club, the first of which should help Celtic in each and every case. They consider the league of which the new club is a member of and their standing within said league. Are they likely to win silverware regularly? Are they a Champions League side? Do they have a commitment to the training and development of young players? Check, check, check.

Much of the rumoured transfer activity for the upcoming window has centred around players who are available on a similar basis to Dembélé and Ings.

A lot has been made of the relationship between ourselves and Manchester City so it was always likely that a name of a player in light blue would pop up as being linked with a move north of the border to wear the green and white hoops instead. Tosin Adarabioyo, is a young central defender who is highly rated at the Etihad so it was a surprise to see him being linked with a move away, far less trading Manchester for Glasgow, although his last contract was due to expire at the end of this season. It’s a moot point now because he’s signed a new deal, perhaps partly because at the start of the month, City were handed a ban from signing academy players from Premier League and EFL clubs, with the second year being suspended, due to tapping up schoolboys at other sides. With a reported £25k a week deal on the table, despite only having just over 2 hours of first team action, Adarabioyo looks set for a good career. That said, anyone can see that Pep will need to pretty much buy a new back four next year so could he be enticed on loan? A strong and pacy centre half would be welcome in any side, far less the InVIncibles, especially if Toure moves onto the coaching staff as many have predicted. Still only 19, you’d have to think that Tosin fits the recruitment brief.

Charlie Taylor is a young English left back, currently with Leeds. You’d think a compensation move would be unlikely as he’d do well to shift Tierney from a starting place. With being so highly rated and valued at over £4m, it’d be a surprise if he was happy to sit on the bench. With no word yet on Izzy’s future, you would think he’s likely to stay where he is or push for a move to an EPL club.

Reports in the Midlands had recently linked George Saville of Wolves with a move north. Like many young players, he started out at Chelsea before being shunted out on loan. Paul Lambert has just activated the option of a year extension in his contract, which is probably a relief as he’s probably not up to the standard that Celtic need.

It’s a similar story with Kadeem Harris. Four goals in 37 games for Cardiff might be acceptable down there for a right winger but if the rumours of a move for Roberts has any substance, then he’ll be looking elsewhere next season.

What about further forward?

Dominic Solanke is a name who won’t seem to go away. It was reported in February that he was looking for a rise in his Chelsea wages from £7k to £50k per week. On his own Twitter page at the start of March though, he posted an apology from the Daily Telegraph, who ran the article, admitting that he never made those demands for such an increase. His contract runs out at the end of next month so he’ll be a player who’ll be coveted by clubs, assuming that he and Chelsea don’t reach an agreement. The manager knows the player well and was quick to praise him recently when asked about the possibility of signing him. Liverpool have been linked also but can the previous relationship between our manager and the player give us the edge? Conte has said that he expects him to leave so why would he not be attracted by everything going on at the club right now? Apparently, all he’s looking for is a rise in his basic wage and some assurances of opportunities to play first team football. Can you imagine landing an £8m rated striker for what essentially is buttons? Worth pushing the boat out on wages or not, supposing that the club would even need to? If Solanke does go to Anfield, he’ll go for the compensation figure mentioned, which highlights the potential bargain that the club could land if the gaffer can work his magic once again.

Paper talk is sometimes just that. The fact is though that if you do your homework, there are gems to be had for next to nothing. Will Brendan continue to look south of the border when the window opens?

@TheSamMcLeod

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