Celtic transfer targets: How will Rodgers spend Hoops warchest?

When thinking about Celtic transfer targets, there is an old adage that is usually trotted out around Christmases and birthdays: “What do you get someone who has everything?”

A similar phrase could be used: “How do you improve a team who has everything?”

The Hoops secured an incredible fifth domestic treble in seven seasons last time around, but the 3-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle turned out to be Ange Postecoglou’s last game in charge of the club after two trophy-laden seasons at Parkhead.

The Australian arrived as a relative unknown, but his success at Celtic has catapulted him into the hot seat at Tottenham.

Therefore, it could be argued that the biggest transfer has already arrived in Glasgow’s east end with the return of Brendan Rodgers.

He secured domestic trebles in consecutive years before moving on to Leicester City. It is the Irishman’s task to answer the question posed above.

He certainly cannot complain about a lack of backing. He has not even been back at the club for a week, and The Scottish Sun is reporting that he will have a transfer budget of around £30million. This is a figure that dwarfs other clubs in Scotland.

Callan McKenna

There aren’t many youngsters that are making headlines more than Callan McKenna at the moment. This 16-year-old has been dubbed a ‘wonder kid’ thanks to recent performances for his current club, Queen’s Park. And if McKenna isn’t yet one of the most exciting Celtic transfer targets, he soon will be. I say that because there are strong rumors that Celtic are about to make a move for the teenage goalkeeper, who has already received the call-up for the Scotland under-19 squad. Yet it seems as though Celtic aren’t the only game in town when it comes to possible destinations for McKenna. 

Recent reports indicate that McKenna has caught the attention of clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United, as well as Scottish rivals, Rangers. And because of this melting pot of top clubs all bidding to sign McKenna before the end of deadline day on Friday, he is supposedly the ‘most wanted’ goalkeeper in Britain right now. This is quite a title, and it will be interesting to see if Celtic can beat the other clubs to the line and bring him in.

Paulo Bernardo

While there are exciting moves being made to bring in the teenage goalkeeper, McKenna, Celtic fans are equally as excited about a certain midfielder that is now firmly on the radar. As you can see, the man I am referring to here is Paulo Bernando, and he is now one of the Celtic transfer targets who could come in on a loan deal for the 23/24 season. This Portuguese midfielder currently plays for Benfica, yet he is not part of the first team, nor is he going to be for the upcoming season, according to recent reports. Therefore, it’s understandable that Bernardo is looking for a last-ditch move away from Benfica, and his potential destination could well be Scotland.

Paulo Bernardo Celtic transfer targets

At just 21 years of age, however, it is possible that Benfica will only agree to loan out Bernardo with a mandatory buy-clause at the end of the season. This is something that many clubs do with youngsters to ensure they benefit financially from the deal, but whether Celtic would go for such a deal remains to be seen. Then again, talks are officially underway between Celtic and Paulo Bernardo, so the next couple of days could well be a crazy ride.

Sydney van Hooijdonk

So far, it’s no doubt clear that the Celtic transfer targets have been pretty diverse throughout the summer transfer window. Brendan Rodgers has explored options for almost every position in the squad, yet with just a couple of days to go, it seems as though he is looking to bring in a talented striker in the form of Sydney van Hooijdonk. This 23-year-old forward plays for Benfica right now, yet his loan spell at Heerenveen is what really made him stand out as a promising striker last season. He netted 22 goals in just 48 goals during that loan spell, and this is the kind of form that has Brendan Rodgers very interested in bringing the Dutchman to Celtic.

However, Sydney van Hooijdonk is currently receiving offers from several clubs, so this one could go right down to the wire on deadline day.

Daniel Podence

Daniel Podence Transfer Celtic
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Coach Brendan Rodgers seems eager to boost his attack, as the Hoops reportedly have an interest in stealing Daniel Podence this summer. The £12m rated player doesn’t seem like he’s getting the required minutes with Wolverhampton Wanderers this season, so seeking a new challenge isn’t the worst thing he can do.

Daniel Podence spent two years at Molineux during which he made 91 official appearances for the club. He scored only 12 goals during his Wolves spell, which is definitely not up to par with the club’s standards.

However, Brendan Rodgers has been keeping tabs on Podence throughout the last couple of Premier League campaigns, as the Scottish manager was previously occupied with leading Leicester. Rodgers is very aware of just how good Daniel Podence can be when he’s at his lethal best.

As of August, Daniel Podence barely has a year left on his Wolverhampton contract. He is priced at £12m at the moment but Wolves might be inclined to accept a tad more basic pay for the 27-year-old’s services. Celtic’s starting XI definitely needs strengthening and an established winger such as Daniel Podence could really spice up the Hoops’ style.

Gustaf Lagerbielke

This giant of a man is among Celtic’s key transfer targets this season. 23-year-old Gustaf is currently playing for Degerfors IF and he is performing at what can only be described as a very high level.

What’s interesting about Lagerbielke is not that he’s a rock-solid defender but that he knows his way around the opposition’s penalty box. He scored at least once for all four of his last clubs.

With a price tag set at €1.20m, Gustaf Lagerbielke would definitely be a bargain and a half from Celtic’s Rodgers. The Swedish giant would be more than eager to accept the Hoops’ offer, as this would be his first dance with one of the top European clubs.

However, Gustaf still has two years left on his IF Elfsborg deal. The Swedish club would definitely want a bit more than the lackluster €1.20m for their player. Celtic aren’t known for their lavish spending, but they should be able to cope with IF Elfsborg’s financial demands.

Xavier Mbuyamba

Rumors have it that Lagerbielke will join the Bhoys to replace much-admired Carl Starfelt. However, having an extra backup is always a good idea, and Xavier Mbuyamba checks all the boxes. Coach Rodgers was searching for a Victor Wanyama type of player. One who bosses the are around him with his physique. 21-year-old Xavier Mbuyamba is undoubtedly one that can get the job done.

However, Xavier Mbuyamba still has a contract with Volendam. During his spell with the team, he made 29 official appearances and scored five goals. What’s interesting about Xavier is that he had the chance to learn football right from the source – La Masia. He couldn’t make a breakthrough into Barcelona’s A team but he did secure himself an offer from Chelsea.

Sure, Mbuyamba failed to impress the Blues from London but coach Rodgers does seem eager to give him a chance at Celtic Park. Xavier Mbuyamba’s market value is €2.50m at the moment but Volendam will surely want double for their 21-year-old starlet.

Ryan Fraser

Ryan Fraser Transfer Celtic
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Coach Eddie Howe doesn’t seem ready to give Ryan Fraser the appropriate number of minutes this season, which is another indication of why the Scottish player might leave St. James’ Park. The 28-year-old is no spring chicken. He has no time to be a bench warmer, so opting for a new adventure might be a great path for him.

Celtic already confirmed their interest in Fraser’s services, as coach Rodgers is eager to give each position a solid boost ahead of this season. With a whopping price tag of €6.0m, Ryan Fraser’s transfer might be problematic.

Playing in the Scottish Premiership shouldn’t be that much of a challenge for Ryan, as he began his professional football journey defending Aberdeen’s colors. During his three-year deal with the club, he made 21 appearances not scoring a single goal. He has unfinished business to attend to and we are sure that he’ll be more than eager to boost Scotland’s mightiest club this summer. He does have two more years left on his contract, but he’s on the Magpies’ unwanted list at the moment.

Celtic need a reliable goalscorer

Kyogo Furuhashi
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Despite their all-conquering season, only three Hoops players hit double-figures in league goals. Kyogo Furuhashi won the Golden Boot with an impressive 27 goals but he was some way ahead of their next-highest scorers – Jota with 11 and Liel Abada with 10.

Greek international Giorgios Giakoumakis was Scotland’s top scorer in the 2021/22 season but went stateside in January to join Atlanta United. Meanwhile, Montenegrin Sead Haksabanovic struggled to adapt to his new surroundings and netted just five league goals.

Furuhashi has established himself as one of the best players in Scotland in his two seasons since joining from Vissel Kobe but with rumours swirling of Postecoglou taking him – and Reo Hatate – to North London with him, Rodgers may need to look for another reliable goalscorer.

Even if the Japanese international were to stay, a viable alternative is required and there have been links with Slovenian hitman Zan Vipotnik.

The 21-year-old Maribor forward netted 20 goals in 30 games last season and became his country’s second-youngest goal-scorer when he scored a debut winner against Kazakhstan in March. He was linked with the Celts even before Postecoglou’s departure, and Football Scotland report that, despite keen interest from Dinamo Zagreb, Vipotnik’s agent has confirmed contact from Celtic.

Korean Oh Hyeon-Gyu started to show glimpses of his potential towards the end of last season after arriving from Suwon Bluewings in January, while a forgotten man around Parkhead may be returning. Swiss international Albian Ajeti spent last season on loan at Sturm Graz, but the Austrian side have confirmed that he will not make that move permanent. He has one year left on his contract, so he may well be moved on this summer, regardless.

Midfield additions needed at Celtic

Wilfred Ndidi a Celtic transfer target
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Rodgers has already confirmed the first signing of his second Celtic reign with the announcement of 20-year-old Norwegian midfielder Odin Thiago Holm from Valerenga on a five-year deal.

There have been other rumours of midfield additions with the club having reportedly made an offer for Korean international Yang Hyun-Jun from Gangwon FC.

While the Asian influence started under Postecoglou is seemingly continuing, there has also been talk of Rodgers picking through the bones of his relegated former club Leicester.

With the Foxes having a fire sale ahead of their first season in the Championship since 2014, Nigerian Wilfred Ndidi has been talked up for a potential reunion with his former boss. However, his £9million price tag may be off-putting.

With Rangers having already made the impressive addition of Sam Lammers from Atalanta, they will be looking to knock their bitter rivals off their perch in Michael Beale’s first full season in charge. It is sure to be an interesting summer of ins and outs at Parkhead but one thing is for sure – stagnation will not be an option.