Simply put, Celtic’s transfer policy is signing young prospects, developing them and selling them on for a profit. In an ideal world, we could miss the last bit out but this is the nature of modern football.
Many of these players come from abroad, but surely there are talented home grown players who would love the opportunity to play for Celtic?
We’ve seen with the emergence of Stuart Armstrong and the legendary spell from Scott Brown that looking closest to home can often provide great value.
Let’s take a look at some of the brightest Scottish talent that could make a name for themselves at Celtic Park.
Knox is a 17 year old striker, who plays for Livingston. He has been at the club since he was 11, and became the club’s youngest ever player on Boxing Day in 2015 at 16 years of age, breaking Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths’ record.
He is quick, has great ball control and good vision and has been linked with English Premier League teams such as Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool.
Rangers also bid £75,000 for him back in January 2015, but the bid was rejected, with Livingston reportedly wanting double that amount. With Celtic spending £500k on foreign prospects like 19 year old Dembele, and nearly £3m on 19 year old Kouassi Eboue, surely they can spare £150,000 for a highly-rated Scottish player 30 minutes down the road?
First team football is key to a player’s development but Lennoxtown is one of the best places in the country to learn your trade, especially under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers.
Callum Paterson is a player who has impressed me a lot this season. He has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances, assisting 2, which is fantastic for a player who predominantly plays at right-back.
Superb going forward then and while his defending could do with some work, the Hoops could use that kind of attacking presence from full-back.
His contract is up at the end of the season, but a horrific knee ligament injury will keep him out until September. Hearts are expected to offer him a new deal, to aide him through rehab, but to also protect their investment. The likes of Derby County are interested, but is he good enough to play for Celtic when he returns?
Sibbald is 21 year old midfielder who plays for Falkirk. He has been a first team regular for the Scottish Championship side since breaking into the team at 16, and has played over 200 games for the club already.
Scoring 7 goals in 20 league games this season, he is showing he can contribute consistently. Comfortable on the ball, his trickery can also create openings for his teammates.
His contract is up in the summer, and Falkirk would be owed a development fee if he leaves for another SPFL team, with Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Hearts, and English Championship teams all reportedly interested.
One could argue that Celtic have an inflated midfield roaster, but with the likes of Bitton and Allan reportedly on the way out, could this open the door for a young Scottish midfielder?
Gallagher is another highly rated Falkirk player attracting interest from the top clubs in Europe such as Barcelona and Chelsea. Brendan Rodgers is also interested in the left back according to the media.
Falkirk are said to have put a £750,000 price tag on the 17 year old who joined from the Forth Valley Football Academy in 2015. He has made 8 appearances for the club, 7 this season.
With Kieran Tierney making the left back position his own, Gallagher would struggle to get in the team, but could Celtic let such a talented player go without making an effort to sign him? We’ve seen with the likes of James McCarthy and Steven Fletcher in the past that it’s often a regret not to invest early in young players leaving the country.
If there is one Scottish player I wish Celtic would sign, Ryan Gauld is that man. Bags of talent, and ball control which has prompted comparisons to a certain Lionel Messi (which Gauld wasn’t keen on).
Guided through youth team football by then Dundee United Head of Youth, Ian Cathro, Gauld made his first team debut aged 16 and became a first team regular the next season, playing alongside Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven, before a dream move abroad to Sporting Lisbon materialised.
Gauld has only played for Sporting’s first team a handful of times in the two and a half years since, predominantly playing for their B team.
He has spent the last few months on loan at top-flight Vitória de Setúbal, before bizarrely being recalled after Vitória knocked Sporting out of the domestic cup.
Despite struggling for first team football, Gauld is reportedly highly regarded by the management at the club, so a move to Celtic would be unlikely unless the Hoops show significant interest. I think Gauld will go in to be a fantastic player for club and country and being proactive to get his signature could be a very smart move long-term.
I think it’s fair to say that despite the efforts of the doom mongers in the media to convince people otherwise, Scottish football still has its gems. With young talent like the five players mentioned coming through the ranks, I think Scotland will have a better chance of qualifying for a major tournament in the next few years.
For Celtic, who have a always had a Scottish backbone in their team, it provides a greater pool of home grown talent to choose from and I hope to see one or two of these players pulling on the famous hoops over the next few years.
This guest article for A Grand Auld Team was written by Ben, who runs the Twitter account @FocusOnCeltic. Give him a follow!