BRENDAN RODGERS will be announced as Celtic manager this week.
But who could be his first signing when he returns to Scottish football after a four-year absence?
Rodgers has been offered a lucrative salary by the Hoops bosses to return to Parkhead to replace Ange Postecoglou after the Australian left for Tottenham Hotspur.
The Northern Irishman has also been assured he has plenty of money to spend on players as he seeks to regain his footing in the squad.
That financial commitment comes alongside a five-year plan Rodgers has reportedly presented to the Hoops board of directors, which envisages winning a European trophy for the club.
With that in mind, SunSport took a look at Celtic’s Rodgers transfer deals from 2016-2019, analyzing five of his best signings… and five he’d rather forget.
Five of the best
Moussa Dembele (£500,000 from Fulham, June 2016)
Although their relationship eventually deteriorated as Dembele received offers to leave Celtic, signing the striker was a stroke of genius for everyone involved as they took advantage of cross-border legislation to land the French frontman from Fulham for a fraction of the talent he deserved.
Whether playing with Leigh Griffiths or Odsonne Edouard up front, Dembélé was a menace, using his power to bully defenders and using skillful movement to create space against teams with low blocking played. He had a deadly eye for goal and when he left Celtic handed a whopping profit as Lyon paid £18million for him.
Scott Sinclair (£3m plus surcharges from Aston Villa, August 2016)
Sinclair’s signing was perhaps the best example of Rodgers using his connections and working to Celtic’s advantage in the South. The former Chelsea youngster had enjoyed two excellent years under Rodgers at Swansea from 2010 to 2012, which eventually led to Man City buying him from the Welsh club.
Failing to break City’s first-team squad, he spent time at West Brom and Aston Villa before Rodgers brought him to Glasgow and made a tremendous impression.
Sinclair was named Celtic Players’ Player of the Year and Celtic Supporters’ Player of the Year in 2016/17, and took home PFA and SWFA Player of the Year awards after scoring 25 goals in 50 games for a year at Wing , including 21 in the league.
His subsequent seasons weren’t quite as statistically stunning, but he remained a popular player with fans before falling out of favor under Neil Lennon following Rodgers’ departure.
Patrick Roberts (Loan from Manchester City, August 2017)
The lithe winger had originally joined the Hoops in January 2016 before Rodgers arrived, but the Northern Irishman was there when another year-long loan was given up in the summer.
Roberts still considers his time at Celtic to be probably the most productive of his career. The Man City youngster has scored 18 goals in 79 games and was a favorite among Hoops supporters.
After a stint on loan despite clamoring for a permanent deal from Celtic, he now plays at Sunderland and was a regular for the Black Cats on their way to the play-offs.
Odsonne Edouard (loan from PSG, August 2017; £9m from PSG, June 2018)
If you ask Celtic fans who was the better player, Dembélé or Edouard, it’s a bit difficult. While Dembele’s game is based on power, predatory instinct and swagger, Edouard’s is more about finesse, tact and subtlety.
Regardless, it was the younger of the two Frenchmen who played more in the hoops and scored more goals.
French Eddy (as he was affectionately known) made his mark towards the end of his first loan spell, scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 win over Rangers at Ibrox in March 2018 and then one in a 5-0 win over Rangers Doppelpack raised an objection a month later.
The Celts paid a record transfer fee to bring Edouard back permanently while Rodgers pushed for a deal.
He has won numerous individual and collective awards and would give Celtic a tidy profit when Crystal Palace signed him for around £15million in 2021.
Filip Benkovic (loan from Leicester City, August 2018)
Marred by injuries, Benkovic was a rock-solid defender for the Hoops during the 2018-19 season under Rodgers.
He was calm and composed on the ball and extremely strong when it came to the physical side of the game.
Supporters hoped Rodgers would consider loaning him back to Celtic after his arrival at Croatian parent club Leicester, but that was not to be the case and arguably only the arrival of Cameron Carter-Vickers has since solved the problems at the heart of the Hoops’ defence Benkovic and Kris Ajer left.
Five to forget
Dorus De Vries (Unknown from Nottingham Forest, August 2016)
Rodgers used his Swansea connections not only to sign Sinclair, but also to sign veteran goalkeeper De Vries with the intention of getting Craig Gordon on as Celtic no. 1 and embody the defensive style.
That didn’t work out and when the Dutchman was substituted at half-time against Kilmarnock in September of his first season, his stint, albeit brief, as starting goalkeeper was over.
He stayed on as a backup for two more seasons before retiring.
Eboue Kouassi (£3m from Krasnodar, January 2017)
What happened to him?
People have been asking that question since Kouassi was at Celtic.
£3million for a young midfielder was a hefty sum and the Ivorian didn’t live up to the price during his time at Parkhead.
He had limited appearances, playing only 22 times in total.
His longest stint with the team as a starter was in the winter of 2017/18, where he made a number of league appearances and then earned a starting spot for the Europa League knockout game at home to Zenit St Petersburg.
A strange game from start to finish as Genk finally took it out of Celtic’s hands.
Charly Musonda (on loan from Chelsea, January 2018)
Speaking of zenith, this Chelsea prodigy set up the winner and generally impressed with striking skills late on as a substitute.
But he never progressed and only started three times before his loan was canceled.
Whatever Rodgers (and, in fairness, others) saw in him never materialized and he almost quit football recently.
Vakoun Bayo (£2m from Dunajská Streda, January 2019)
A goal record of 22/32 from an Eastern European league?
6 feet tall?
An international player at 21 and still years ahead of him?
All of that applies to Bayo, but he just didn’t make it at Celtic Park.
He stayed behind Edouard and Griffiths during his time with the Hoops, even if Griffiths had his problems. That may always have been the case, but at £2million one would have expected a replacement to contribute or at least be a viable option in the rotation.
Was loaned to Toulouse in Ligue 2 where he scored ten goals in 31 league games before being bought by Gent (who subsequently loaned him to Charleroi).
Now with Watford in the English championship, he struggled in his debut season, scoring four goals in 21 games.
Marian Shved (£1.7m from Karpaty Lviv, January 2019)
The January 2019 window under Rodgers has a lot to answer for.
Along with Bayo for £2m, Shved was bought for £1.7m.
This was also at a time when the Hoops were handing out loan deals like hotcakes, including to players with sizeable salaries such as Timo Weah, Heremy Toljan and Oliver Burke, none of whom would return after their first six-month stint at Glasgow.
Americans Manny Perez and Andrew Gutman also signed firm contracts during this window, and it doesn’t take two hands to sum up their joint performance tally.
But Shved was an odd player considering the effort involved and the fact that he hails from prized Ukraine, had played for some time with the Seville reserve team and was already playing for his country.
After being immediately loaned back to Karpaty Lviv, Shed showed some flashes of talent – most notably a goal in a Champions League qualifier against Latvian minnows Nomme Kalju – but failed to break through to the first team (although Rodgers did by then had done). Left).
After just three competitive games for the Celts, he left on a permanent deal at Mechelen in Belgium in 2021, a transfer that just never seemed to make sense.
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