Brendan Rodgers took over as Celtic manager in May 2016 after roughly nine months out of the game following his dismissal by Liverpool. There was largely a feeling of excitement about the Northern Irishman’s arrival, and after losing his first competitive game to Gibraltar side Lincoln Red Imps, things went pretty well for Rodgers in Glasgow – certainly domestically, at least.
Following his success though, there was a slight feeling of resentment when Rodgers left the club mid-season to take over at Leicester City. From Rodgers’ point of view, he probably knew his chances of landing a top six job were slim, and Leicester are just about the next best thing. Now, the reason I am doing this video – in part – is because I was asked by my boss to do a Celtic-related video, so as to shout out our new Celtic YouTube page, which is called 67 Hail Hail. 67 Hail Hail is part of the HITC family, and I’d strongly recommend any Celtic fans watching this video to check it out and subscribe.
Here are Brendan Rodgers’ first 7 Celtic signings: Where are they now?
7. Kristoffer Ajer – Celtic
This is a bit of a tricky one since Kristoffer Ajer had actually agreed to sign for Celtic before Brendan Rodgers arrived, but he only officially signed for the club once Rodgers was in the building. A tall, commanding and physically strong presence at the heart of the Celtic defence, Ajer has proved to be an excellent addition, even if he wasn’t really a Rodgers signing. He is still with Celtic, but on current form, the 21-year-old Norwegian could be moving on for big money in the future.
6. Moussa Dembele – Lyon
Another brilliant Celtic signing, Moussa Dembele already has moved on from Celtic for big money, a club record fee in fact. The Frenchman joined Celtic having run down his contract at Fulham, and he scored 32 goals in 49 games in his first season at Parkhead. His second season wasn’t quite as devastating, but he’d still done enough to convince Lyon that he was worth €22 million. He scored 20 goals in 46 games in his first season in his native France, and he looks likely to better that with 6 goals in 10 games already this term.
5. Kolo Toure – Leicester Coach
A favourite of Brendan Rodgers’, the former Swansea boss took Kolo Toure to both Liverpool and Celtic, and now to Leicester City in a coaching role. An absolutely superb centre-back in his heyday at Arsenal, Toure made 17 appearances in his single season at Celtic before hanging up his boots. In September 2017, having retired, Toure joined the Celtic coaching team, and in February 2019 he followed Brendan Rodgers to Leicester City where he is employed as a first team coach.
4. Scott Sinclair – Celtic
Five of Brendan Rodgers’ first seven signing as Celtic manager arrived from north of the border, where Rodgers had the most experience, and Scott Sinclair was another who proved to be a shrewd addition. The wide man had a point to prove having warmed the bench at Man City before getting relegated at Aston Villa. He was explosive in his first season at Celtic, being named as SFWA Player of the Year, and in his three-and-a-bit seasons at Celtic, the uncapped Englishman has scored a total of 62 goals in 159 games. He’s still at Parkhead now, aged 30.
3. Dorus de Vries – Retired
Dorus de Vries was a player Brendan Rodgers knew well from his time at Swansea, where de Vries spent four seasons as a regular in the first team. By the time he joined Celtic, de Vries had spent the last half-decade largely playing second fiddle at Wolves and Nottingham Forest, and it would be a similar situation in Glasgow. The experienced goalkeeper made 15 appearances in three seasons at Parkhead, departing and retiring from football in the summer just gone.
2. Cristian Gamboa – Bochum
Cristian Gamboa was another player signed by Brendan Rodgers who had a point to prove, having played very little football during two seasons at West Brom. Sadly, he didn’t quite make the gargantuan impact that Scott Sinclair was able to. The Costa Rica star made 17 appearances in his debut campaign, but he only made a combined total of 10 appearances in the two seasons following that. His deal at Parkhead ran out at the end of last season, and Gamboa joined Bundesliga 2 side Bochum on a free.
1. Eboue Kouassi – Celtic
Brendan Rodgers described Eboue Kouassi as a long-term replacement for Scott Brown at Celtic in that energetic and destructive midfield role, with Celtic paying £3 million to take the youngster off FC Krasnodar’s hands. An article in 67 Hail Hail recently confirmed that Kouassi was actually still alive and well, given that he has been entirely absent from Celtic’s squads for a long time now. It has been almost a year since the most recent of Kouassi’s 22 Celtic appearances, and Rodgers’ claims that the midfielder will undoubtedly replace Brown one day now seem more than a little dubious. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old Ivorian is still with the Scottish champions, although you could have been forgiven for having forgotten that was the case.