Brendan Rodgers says he “won’t beg” players to come to Scottish football as he looks to improve his Celtic squad in January.
The manager says they are already looking at targets for when the transfer window reopens next year and insists anyone who is given the chance to join the Premiership league leaders will be in a privileged position.
He also pointed to the success of Virgil Van Dijk, who joined Celtic for £2m before moving on to become a Premier League and Champions League winner at Liverpool, as proof that it’s not always the amount you pay that determines how good a player will be.
But while Rodgers admits January can be a tough window to get the right players in, he insists he is confident that his squad will be exactly how he wants it to be by the summer.
As well as looking for players who can improve the team, he knows the squad will need trimmed and is aware of the impact the upcoming Asian Cup could have with players like Kyogo Furuhashi, Hyeongyu Oh and Daizen Maeda likely to be called up for the month long tournament.
Speaking to the media after Celtic’s AGM on Wednesday, he said: “We always know what we want, the plan when we sat down in the summer we understood where we were at, and of course some players then move on that you maybe don’t expect to.
“We are also well aware of the Asian Cup coming up, so nothing surprises us with that.
“For me it’s about getting players in that are going to improve us and be better than what we have and that’s important.
“We have a lot of young players that are here to develop and grow but you also need players for the present and that’s what we will look at.
“My job is to develop the football team and I want the best team possible on the field, but it will always be within the conditions of the club and every manager will be the same.
“You strike to get the best possible players available to improve your performance level so hopefully we will be able to do that.
“January is a difficult window, of course there is always quality available, but it’s about whether it’s affordable for us and that is the challenge.
“Previously I have been able to do well in the January window when players have been available, so it’s something that has been ongoing over the past few months looking at the possibility of players we might be able to bring in.
“But I repeat, we have a squad of 32 that we will need to bring down as well as bringing in quality players but I am very comfortable that by the summer the squad, in terms of numbers and quality, will look how I want it to.
“We have to see if the players that are available for us to bring in will improve the squad we have, so I can’t sit here and give an exact number of how many will go out and how many will come in, but there is always movement.”
Rodgers also argues that while the Scottish Premiership might not be the most attractive league for the very best talent available, the champions offer a unique opportunity to win trophies in front of a “fanatical” support.
He said: “Everybody will put quality down to how much you pay, but that is not always the case, Virgil Van Dijk came here for £2m and he was top quality, it’s always a challenge because a lot of players will want to play in a more renowned league.
“But I think what Celtic offers is really unique in terms of being able to come and play for a fanatical fanbase and to come and develop as a player, to become a winner, live in a great city and there’s been many great players and managers to come here.
“We always work hard but we won’t beg players to come, this is an incredible club to play for and if you are lucky enough to work and play then you will get the sense of that.”
Celtic return to league action this weekend as they host Motherwell with the chance to increase their lead at the top to 11 points.
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