Brendan Rodgers: Celtic need to build 'much stronger' squad this summer

The Celtic boss is keen to strengthen with transfers.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says the squad has to be “much stronger” for next season and is optimistic that improvements can be made ahead of the new campaign.

The 2-1 derby win over Rangers on Saturday put the team on the verge of the Premiership title with just two games left to play, and the Glasgow giants will clash at Hampden at the end of the season in the Scottish Cup final.

Rodgers has faced challenges this season though, with injuries to key players Cameron Carter-Vickers and Reo Hatate having an impact.

The manager has made it clear that he would have liked to have added a higher standard of player in the two transfer windows since he returned to the club and Celtic put out a statement after the January window expressing their own frustration at “less than anticipated activity”.

That has created anticipation that the club will be actively recruiting in the summer and Rodgers says work has already begun on delivering new talent.

“We have to (improve the squad),” he said. “That’s pretty clear.

“But I’m really excited about that moving forward into a real, bright future with this club.

“This season has been a real challenge. The squad is openly not as strong as I would have liked it to have been.

“What the players have given me has been absolutely brilliant but our job going into next year is to be stronger. Much stronger. But that’s something that is well under way.”

Celtic are making changes behind the scenes with recruitment chief Mark Lawwell and first team scout Joe Dudgeon leaving the club.

First choice goalkeeper Joe Hart is retiring after the cup final, while midfielder Paolo Bernardo and striker Adam Idah are set to return to their parent clubs at the end of their loan spells.

Those key positions will have to be filled and Rodgers wants high quality players not just for the starting eleven but to add depth and competition to the squad.

“There’s definitely certain positions we would want to have finalised sooner rather than later,” he said.

“Ideally, if we can do that it would be great but what’s really important for us for this summer is getting the level of quality that I want into the squad. That will be absolutely key for the growth of this team.

“The guys this season have been absolutely fantastic but next season we need more depth in the squad.

“I go back a little bit to my past here – I was going away to Ross County and making eight changes and I was bringing guys like Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie into that team. These guys have shown they are Premier League quality.

“I remember taking the team to Dubai at our training camp and the second team beat the starters 5-0, and that gave me great food for thought when we came back for the second part of the season. And it was a proper game of football.

“So that told me the depth that’s required and I think that’s something that’s definitely required here.

“We probably lost a bit of that in the summer and there’s no doubt we will need to restructure that. We have some fantastic players here and we want to add to that.”

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