Retaining their Scottish Premiership crown wasn’t the only thought on Celtic’s mind during a transfer window which, on the surface at least, they appeared to be targeting proven, experienced players like Fraser Forster, Mortiz Bauer and Christoper Jullien.
With Rangers breathing down their necks and building for a bright future at Ibrox, Celtic had little choice but to do the same.
The signings of Luca Connell, Jonathan Afolabi, Lee O’Connor, Jeremie Frimpong, Tobi Owulayemi and Leo Hjelde might not have dominated the headlines but they are a reflection of the club’s desire to add quality and depth to their youth ranks as they look to monopolise the Scottish scene not just now but ten years in the future.
Adrian Akande, another exciting young teenager, is a further example of Celtic’s long-term planning.
The highly-rated winger might not be capable of challenging James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and co for a place in Neil Lennon’s first-team any time soon but the volume of interest, and the identity of those suitors, shows that Celtic would be pulling off a major coup if they get the deal done.
According to All Nigeria Soccer, The Hoops are battling Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, West Ham and even Old Firm rivals Rangers for his signature. The same publication claimed recently that the Chelsea wonderkid is a target for Bayern Munich, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Villarreal and Lyon too.
Celtic have a real battle on their hands. But The Hoops have developed a happy habit of snapping up some of the continent’s best young guns of late.
Connell and Afolabi were linked with some of England’s biggest clubs before moving north of the border from Bolton Wanderers and Southampton respectively while Manchester United fans were furious when O’Connor swapped the Red Devils for the green and white Hoops.
But snatching Akande from under the noses of Liverpool, Bayern and co would perhaps be the most impressive piece of future planning yet.
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