With the news last week that the Brazilian Vinicius Souza has opted to play with Espanyol in Spain next season it got me wondering about the new markets that are now available to Celtic when it comes to signing new talent.
Previously the rules restricted how many players from outside Europe that we could bring to the club, however it’s now possible for us to bring in promising player from countries we might not have considered before.
Our new left back Alexandro Bernabei is the perfect example of this as the 21 year old becomes the very first Argentine to pull on the Hoops.
We could see others now follow as early as this summer’s transfer window.
A NEW APPROACH TO PLAYER RECRUITMENT
Signing players from new markets of course can come with increased risk. Not just for Celtic, but there have been many high profile examples of European sides with mixed success when it comes to players failing to settle for one reason or another.
However, if we want to have a genuine chance of closing the gap between ourselves and the big hitters in the Champions League then shopping in this different markets gives us a huge opportunity to do so.
Signing players who have already settled into Europe comes at a premium and is simply something that we can’t afford. As soon as a player establishes themselves in this domain then Celtic are effectively out of the running for their signature as prices continue to sky rocket.
This means that we need to do something different and to instead become the first stop in for some of these players as they embark on their European careers.
This is where having something at the helm with Ange Postecoglou’s knowledge and global experience helps us greatly.
Working in Japan for several years, as well as his national experience at various age levels within Football Australia, Ange will have more experience than many other European managers to call upon when signing players from further afield.
Not only will he have experienced different challenges himself when settling into new territories – allowing him to empathise with potential new signings - but he has also signed several South Americans whilst in Japan, helping them to settle in that part of the world.
He of course flipped that on it’s head when bringing the Japanese quarter of Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi to Glasgow last season.
Now, I’ve never been to Japan. However, those I’ve spoken to who have described it as the most unique place they have ever visited.
There is the obvious language barrier but not only that, there are significant cultural differences to adapt to.
Ange will have learned from his time living there of the various challenges of adjusting to new surroundings and the ways in which to mitigate or overcome them.
Remember, this is a man who managed a team through a number of translators to a league title with Yokohoma F Marinos. An incredible achievement.
Experiencing some short-term communication and cultural challenges isn’t something that phases him, and nor should it. This is something he has navigated successfully in the past and he’ll be passing on those experiences to potential new signings.
With Ange – now supported by Mark Lawwell, formerly of The City Group – we should be extremely confident in his abilities to help the club benefit from the changes to work permit rules when it comes to signing players.
We saw last season just how quickly so many of our new signings settled at the club.
Kyogo coming in from Japan, the Croatian Josip Juranovic arriving via Warsaw, 19 year old Liel Abada leaving Israel for the first time, and many others thrived last season.
The success rate is remarkable and almost unprecedented when it comes to integrating new signings. A massive part of that must surely be down to Ange Postecoglou’s influence.
With potentially 2 or 3 new signings still to come this summer I look forward to seeing who we bring in next.
Whoever they are, wherever they are from, I’m confident that they’ll have the best possible opportunity to settle quickly and show what they can bring to the table under the guidance of our manager.
And just how far can this change in approach take us?
We’re about to find out!