Ange Postecoglou has a job on his hands in January as he looks to solidify Celtic for a tilt at the title.
The Australian’s first transfer window was a hit even a couple of his ten new arrivals have taken their time.
While Giorgos Giakoumakis and James McCarthy haven’t hit the ground running just yet, Jota and Kyogo Furuhashi have been smash-hits while Liam Scales’ strike against Dundee United hints at big things to come from the Irishman.
But there is expected to be plenty more where that came from. A triple J-League swoop for Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi has been mooted in Japan, as Postecoglou looks for strength in depth all over the pitch.
Straight-talking Postecoglou has been uncharacteristically coy when asked about his transfer plans as he keeps his cards close to his chest.
But in the six months since he took the job, there have been a few quotes that hint at how the window will shape up.
Here Record Sport have taken a look at everything he has said about the January window.
On Daizen Maeda
One of the first J-League names to be linked with a move to Parkhead in January was Yokohama F. Marinos hitman Daizen Maeda.
He’s currently the top scorer and Postecoglou was asked about him all the way back in November, having worked with him previously.
Postecoglou has been reluctant to be drawn on speculation on individuals and he said: “I can neither confirm or deny.
“There is no doubt the Japanese league is one I know well, I have an advantage there.
“Obviously I know Daizen well, I was the one who brought him to Yokohama F Marinos but I can definitely confirm we are not in advance talks with anyone to sign anyone at the moment.
“We will be casting the net far and wide, we are not going to just limit it to the Japanese league.”
On a smoother January window
Speaking later in the month, Postecoglou promised there would be some activity – but that it won’t be as much ‘chaos’ as in the summer.
“I like to work pretty methodically. I don’t like to rush into things, whether that’s decisions about current affairs or future affairs. That’s why the summer transfer window, for me, was way too chaotic, but understandably so because of the situation I was put into.
“I don’t want that to happen in January and I don’t want that to happen in future.
“That won’t happen if we start working methodically from now. That doesn’t mean we ramp things up or do things at a faster pace, it just means we do things in a systematic way that allows us to make the best decision without feeling the pressure of time.
“It won’t be as busy as the summer but there will be some activity. There are some areas I feel we should strengthen but, while we’re not in any rush, a lot of that will be dictated by how the ones we’ve got here develop over the next period of time because we’ve had some players who have shown some fantastic acceleration in their development over the last period.
“As we go along, we’ll see what gaps need to be filled.”
On getting the right people
Onto the AGM on 17th November where transfer plans dominated what he was asked about.
He was sympathetic with fans who want to see rapid deals, but also urged patience.
“I know people were very keen for me to sort of do things immediately. It’s just not the way I’m wired, it’s not the way I work. I kind of get fairly methodical about what people I bring in and how we grow as a football club, particularly the football department area that I’m in charge of.
“A big part for me is getting the right people as much as getting the right skillsets. We’ve started some work in that area and we’ll continue to work in that area.
“We’ll definitely add the right people to this football club. We’re not just about some immediate reaction, it’s about building something that will last. We’ll keep working down that track and we’re very confident we’ll get the right people in.”
On what they need
Speaking in late November, Postecoglou said there is “no doubt” his team need to strengthen.
Again though he stressed that he is building for the long-term and won’t be rushed into panic buys – even though he’s keen to wrap business up quickly.
“There is no doubt (we need to improve). We are still just four or five months into building a team and it was never going to happen in one transfer window.
“We know that we need more depth and players in certain areas that I think can help us to bridge the gap. You look at the Leverkusen side and they have quality all the way through.
“What we want to do is be able to compete at that level and we need to continue to look to improve our squad and add depth so that we can compete in lots of competitions.”
Will there be extensive business?
“Maybe, maybe not, let’s just see.”
On players leaving
One thing he’s been more clear on is that players will move on.
Vasilis Barkas looks a near certainty to go while fringe men Boli Bolingoli and Albian Ajeti could be offloaded to make room.
“Some guys will be going on loan and some will be moving out, that’s only natural as everything progresses.
“Some of that will depend on the players themselves and where they feel they are at. Circumstances change and I expect some players will be moving on.”
On getting business done early
The one message Postecoglou has stressed consistently is the need to get business done early.
And after their win over Dundee United on Sunday, that was at the forefront once more.
“Myself, Michael Nicholson, all the key people at the football club, we’re working really hard. We want to be well organised and get the right players in.
“I know what we need in terms of making our squad a bit more well rounded and robust for a challenging second half of the year. We’ll just keep working away. No deals are done yet, nothing’s been signed.
“I know people get excited about names and I’ve probably been linked with the whole of the J-League. There’s also the Korean league that is decent, if you want to go fishing there. There will be plenty of names.
“From my perspective, we know what we need – and I’m fairly confident we‘ll get them in and get them in early.”
On plundering the J-League
Postecoglou then admitted he’s keen to plunder the Far East market – with the Japanese leagues now over and players ready to move.
He said: “I don’t want to say that – because everyone will go there and start looking. I’m obviously at an advantage because I worked there.
“It would be silly of me not to use the experience I have and the knowledge I have. That’s why we got Kyogo here. I was 100 per cent certain he would do well, especially with the way we play. And it’s not just Kyogo. If you look at all the big leagues around the world, you’ll see Asian players.
“Not just from Japan but from Korea, from Australia, from Iran. There are some very good footballers on that side of the world. But if people don’t want to look there, I’m happy to be the only one.”Internet Explorer Channel Network