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Deila will set a high bar for new signings at Celtic

RONNY DEILA, the Celtic manager, is targeting quality, not quantity, as he attempts to instil a culture of positive progression within Celtic.

Ronny Deila and John Collins share a laugh at training as they prepare to face Legia Warsaw in their Champions League qualifier. Picture: SNS
Ronny Deila and John Collins share a laugh at training as they prepare to face Legia Warsaw in their Champions League qualifier. Picture: SNS

Deila dreams of making it to the group stage of the Champions League, and making a clean sweep of the trophies in Scotland, but, longer term, Deila wants to lay down a legacy which will make Celtic successful for years to come, no matter which players come and go.

He acknowledges making it past Legia Warsaw into the play-offs for the Champions League, and then booking their place in the group stage will make attracting the calibre of player he wants much easier. He accepts, though, that even with another £20m pay-day from UEFA, he will not be able to splash out on £6m signings to realise his burning ambition to see Celtic control a big match against one of Europe's elite.

The salaries on offer elsewhere simply make it impossible for Celtic to target such players. However, what funds he does have available he would rather invest in a couple of proven players than spread it thinly among projects or punts.

"I'd rather have two very good players than five average ones," he insisted. "If you buy one really good player, then the others know where the level is. So they can say, 'I want to get up there.' It is much easier if that is possible [buying big], but I don't think we have the £6m right now."

Deila underlined the other big obstacle to aiming for the stars. "We're not even close to the salaries they are paying in England," he said. "So it has to be players who want to play for Celtic."

Nancy's Haitian midfielder, Jeff Louis, could be next to move to Parkhead, his £1.7m transfer fee within Celtic's range. Deila would not be drawn on specific targets but said: "I don't know if we'll sign anyone in the next week, but I think we'll get closer if we get through to the next round of the qualifiers. I'd hope we would then be stronger going into the play-offs.

"I know this season can be fantastic if we beat Legia and go on to reach the Champions League. This is a very important game, and I think we have reason to be confident."

Wherever the future takes Deila's Celtic, it will be without Tony Watt, who could not show the commitment the new manager demands. The Norwegian hopes the striker's £1.2m move to Standard Liege will allow him to reflect, and find a better path.

"Tony knows that to develop you have to train 100% every day," he said. "You have to be prepared every day. You have to sacrifice everything. He took a few small steps, but has still a lot to work on. Tony has a big talent, maybe one day he can come back to Celtic and be the star he wants to be."

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

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