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Rodgers' transfer business is not good enough for Celtic, slams Hoops hero

 

By Gavin McCafferty

Former Celtic midfielder Kris Commons claims Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' signings have not been good enough.

Commons defended Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell in the aftermath of the club's Champions League exit at the hands of AEK Athens.

Rodgers has voiced his frustration at the club's failure to complete deals this summer - he has only signed Odsonne Eduoard and Scott Bain, who were at Parkhead on loan last season.

But Commons contended: "When you are adding players, it needs to be of a certain quality. Looking at the signings Brendan Rodgers has made since he came in two years ago, he has brought in 15 players. Only two started in Athens.

"He signed two goalkeepers in Dorus de Vries and Scott Bain, two centre-halves in Marvin Compper and Jack Hendry, a right-back, Cristian Gamboa, he's just signed Emilio Izaguirre again.

"He has had the funds to get players but of not great quality and it's not making any impact on the side at all. Of the players he has signed, probably three or four maximum pass the mark - Scott Sinclair, Edouard, Moussa Dembele and Olivier Ntcham.

"Whoever is in control of bringing in players need to have a look at themselves in the mirror because the quality is not good enough."

Commons, who did not feature in a season under Rodgers before a back problem forced him to quit, added: “Peter Lawwell does not have a blank chequebook. Brendan Rodgers has spent nearly £25m on transfer fees — that’s without signing-on fees, wages, agent fees — in 24 months.

“Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila probably spent £25million in five years — Brendan Rodgers has done it in 24 months.

“Peter Lawwell is probably thinking: ‘You know what, we have given you enough money and we are still in the same position, thinking we need more defenders’.”

Former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan also defended the board.

“I’ve been there to deal with the board, and they tell you how much you can spend, and you have to stick to that,” Strachan said.

“They want to sign players, of course they do, but it’s not always that easy. They’re protecting an institution, and they cannot risk it.

“You saw what happened with Rangers, where they almost lost their club, and Celtic can never put themselves in that position.”

However, former Hoops striker Andy Walker disagreed.

Walker said: “This was entirely avoidable. For Celtic not to have done any business in the transfer market up to the games that define their season, is really poor judgement. It’s very amateurish.

“The biggest problem is, having won the last six trophies domestically, Brendan Rodgers clearly wants Celtic to kick on and be better in Europe.

“Against that, you have a board who are very happy being a dominant force in Scottish football. They don’t want the outlay of spending money to make Celtic better in a European sense.

“So you have pretty much reached a glass ceiling. And if that’s the case, how long will Brendan Rodgers be happy just being the dominant force in Scotland?”

Meanwhile, Callum McGregor believes everyone at Celtic has to stick together after the Hoops’ Champions League aspirations ended in Athens on Tuesday.

A 2-1 defeat by AEK Athens, on the back of a 1-1 first-leg draw, saw the Scottish champions drop down to the Europa League, where they will play either Latvian side Spartaks Jurmala or Lithuanians Suduva in the play-offs.

The exit came against the backdrop of tension between Rodgers and the Celtic board over their transfer policy, and amid controversy over the absence of Dedryck Boyata.

The Belgium defender posted a video of himself getting treatment on the day of the game, insisting he was not fully fit, but Rodgers insisted he was fit to play.

And on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Hearts on Saturday, McGregor noted unusually negative times for the Hoops, but urged unity.

“We have had a lot of success over the last couple of years, it is a new test for the boys and the management team and the fans as well,” he said.

“They are so used to success and once you get two bad results in a week, the players know they are up against it and we have to come out fighting and show we are good players and why we have been successful.

“This is a time for the club to stick together.

“We are massively disappointed not to be going through. Performance-wise we dominated over the two games but at the highest level you have to defend properly and we shot ourselves in the foot and we paid the big price for it.

“We are out of the Champions League and we have to eventually learn that when we come away to places like Athens we have to defend properly.

“You have to stay in the game away from home but it didn’t work out like that.”

The Hoops return to Betfred Cup duty away to Championship side Partick Thistle on Saturday before the first leg of their Europa League play-off clash next Thursday.

Belfast Telegraph

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