Whilst the English transfer window closed its doors four weeks ago, the markets of other European countries remained open until the beginning of September. That included Scotland, with SPFL clubs very busy on Monday as the deadline approached.
Scottish Premiership Transfer Round-Up
Scottish champions Celtic have got their eighth successive title defence off to a brilliant start. Four wins out of four, including a derby victory over Rangers, sees the Hoops top of the table. Off the pitch, the East Glasgow side have been busy all summer, bringing in eight new players before the final day of the window. They signed 6’5″ defender Christopher Julien from Toulouse for £7 million, and Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster on a season-long loan, along with others.
However, the Celts were anything but finished on deadline day. They completed three final signings, the first of whom was left-back Greg Taylor from Kilmarnock for an undisclosed fee. Since breaking into the first-team in 2016, Taylor has made over 130 appearances for the Rugby Park outfit. In that time, the 21-year-old has proved he is keen to get forward and play passes. He made his senior debut for Scotland in June.
The other signings were Jeremie Frimpong and Lee O’Connor. Frimpong joins from Manchester City. At 18-years-old, he joins for an undisclosed fee and can play on either side of the pitch as a full back. Meanwhile, O’Connor arrives from Manchester United. The Irishman is a versatile defender, mainly playing as a centre-back. He will hope to make his first senior appearances with the Celts. A number of younger Celtic players departed the club on Monday on loan deals.
Steven Gerrard’s side have been heavily tipped to push Celtic for this season’s title, with many reckoning they will go all way. However, as mentioned, the ‘Teddy Bears’ were dealt an early blow when defeated by their enemies last weekend. Over the course of the window, the Gers have acquired 11 new recruits to improve the squad. Some of the new boys have featured regularly since joining, such as Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo, whilst others are yet to have won their place in the team for the time being.
Whilst it seemed a pretty successful window for Rangers, there was one player missing for the fans: Ryan Kent. The left winger was a top signing for the club as he spent last season on loan from Liverpool. Rangers had been trying everything they could to bring back the 22-year-old after his deal in Scotland expired. Kent spent the summer with his parent club on tour, and as the summer went on it looked that the chances of a move to Rangers were slowly deteriorating.
On Monday, reports originally suggested that Kent was on his way to Club Brugge. However, as the day went on, the media were pointing more towards Ibrox as Kent’s next destination. After a long summer of speculation, the deal was finally sealed, joining permanently for around £7.5 million, making him Rangers’ second most expensive player. Kent was Rangers’ only deadline addition, but some players were on their way out. Deadline departures included the contract terminations of Graham Dorrans and Joe Dodoo, as well as Jason Holt and Jake Hastie who were loaned out to St Johnstone and Rotherham United respectively.
Best of the Rest
It wasn’t just the Old Firm sides who were busy at work on deadline day. In total, eight of the 12 teams in the division welcome new players. With the sale of Taylor and others, Kilmarnock were busy brining in new players to bolster their squad. Former Chelsea youth star Harvey St Clair arrived from Serie B outfit Venezuela as one of three deadline day arrivals. Forty-four miles northeast, Motherwell managed to bring in Peterborough United midfielder Mark O’Hara on loan.
Newly promoted Ross County, the northernmost football club in the Scottish Premiership, made one deadline signing. That was Ewan Henderson, with the Celtic midfielder joining on loan for the season. Hamilton, Hibernian and as mentioned St. Johnston also made moves on the day.
Now that the transfer window has closed until January, Scottish clubs can now put their full focus on league action. Four matches in, the two Glasgow sides sit first and second, whilst the Edinburgh clubs, Hearts and Hibs, find themselves under pressure, sitting the 11th and ninth position. With 34 games to go, it looks an exciting season ahead in Scotland.