Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou admits Celtic have hesitated on a couple of signing targets and need to be “quicker” and “more precise” in their transfer dealings.
The new Celtic boss registered his squad for Tuesday’s Champions League qualifier against FC Midtjylland with summer arrivals Liam Shaw and Osaze Urhoghide included, though fellow new signings Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi are not yet ready for action.
After a number of departures at the end of last season, Celtic are aiming to add several players to the group, with Postecoglou also wanting to shape the team to his own specification. Other players are also expected to leave the club and need replaced, with Kristoffer Ajer and Olivier Ntcham notable omissions from the Champions League squad.
Asked if he had hoped he would be further down the line in terms of adding to his squad, the manager said: “In an ideal world, for sure, we’d have a full complement of players and been together for two or three weeks.
“But at the same, I knew going into it that it was unlikely to be the case. Even on the other side of the world transfer dealings [were challenging].
“We would sign foreign players in Japan and have to wait three months to get them in to the country. I kind of knew it would be a challenging prospect.”
While making it clear that the current restrictions were the main factor in transfer business being difficult, Postecoglou said Celtic needed to quicken the action and decisions they take.
“I definitely think we probably hesitated a couple of times and could have moved faster on some things,” he said. “That hasn’t helped us.
“Under normal circumstances, those sorts of processes are fairly straightforward, in terms of ‘Get a player, sign him, get him a plane, take a photo and away he goes’. That process is now taking two to three weeks and that’s where we’ve got to move a little bit more precisely and understand there’s going to be a lag time so we’ve just got to be a little bit quicker.
“I don’t want to say it’s the club being inefficient, it’s just the normal dealings of day to day and it’s the people you’re dealing with as well. ‘We’ll get back to you tomorrow’ is normally okay but getting back to you tomorrow can mean a week’s delay in the process. It’s not just about us, it’s about doing deals. Both sides might have goodwill but the current climate makes it more challenging.”
The club has until the end of August to complete transfer business but the manager’s need is for players to be available as soon as possible for European qualifiers and to make a strong start in domestic competition. Asked if he was confident everything would fall into place in time, he made no commitment except that everyone involved would make their best efforts.
“Am I confident?,” he said. “I’m confident we’re going to do everything in our power to do that. I’m pushing every day and people are working hard behind the scenes to try and make that happen.
“My role in that is to pursue every avenue I can within the club and outside the club to get things done. That’s what I’ll be endeavouring to do over the next few weeks.
“It’s fairly obvious we need more new players, just on numbers alone, when you look at the people who have left from last year.
“We still have work to do and that’s sort of running alongside the fact that I still have a team to prepare for tomorrow. I’m not losing sight of that. It’s a very important game and the focus is squarely on the players here who will go out tomorrow night and hopefully put in a good performance.”