Davie Hay: Celtic must wage war to conquer Europe

James Vaughan has become the latest striker to be linked with a switch to Celtic this week.

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James Vaughan, above, is a target for Celtic as they look to build already for next year's Champions League quest
James Vaughan, above, is a target for Celtic as they look to build already for next year's Champions League quest

The Huddersfield Town forward has been watched a couple of times by Neil Lennon and would appear to be high on the club's wanted list.

But it could mean another conversation within the club about just precisely what the ceiling is with salary levels and whether or not there can be some room for manouevre.

To me, the issue with a player like this isn't so much the transfer fee - which would be substantial enough - but the wages. It is what scuppered various potential moves last summer.

And that is where the board need to sit down with the manager and have a frank discussion.

I can fully understand the predicament. You don't want the harmony in your dressing room to be eroded by signing one player who creates a lot of resentment - and the thing with any signing is that they never come with a guarantee.

But I do think that the time may have come when there is a chance to maybe tweak the current structure.

You wouldn't want to bring in a player who was miles ahead of everyone else, but at the same time if you do want to bring in that bit of quality then you might need to push the boat out, even just a little.

In recent seasons the club's policy has served them very well and the likes of Gary Hooper - who still arrived after a decent outlay - and Victor Wanyama have been clever signings who have proved to be very successful.

This season, though, it hasn't transpired the same way.

In my time as a manager we just didn't have the same problems in that there just wasn't the massive chasm between England and Scotland that currently exists.

The Sky television money has completely revolutionised things and it isn't just the salary levels in the Premier League that any Scottish club would struggle to match, but also the Championship.

It does make it tough to go out and unearth players of genuine quality.

There has been no secret that Celtic have been in the hunt for a striker and possibly a creative midfielder for quite some time, and you can see just how difficult it can be to get that for the budget that you want to stick to.

And it may be that in this forthcoming window there is some possibility of relaxing that structure just a little.

I don't think anyone would want the club to go crazy and overboard - the long-term financial security remains paramount - but if you are talking about preparing the way for next season's Champions League campaign then it could be worth tweaking things very slightly.

It makes sense for Neil to be looking ahead at this stage because it would give him the opportunity to bed players in before the summer.

There really isn't a lot of time when the curtain comes down on the campaign to get organised in terms of signings before the qualifiers at knocking on your door.

Having players settled would give the best chance to get into the group stage again, an achievement which is a difficult ask in itself.

Getting through those games at such an early stage of the season is a challenge that I don't think you can underestimate, so I fully understand why January is seen as an ideal time to lay foundations.

If you can get the targets you are after then that is great and if you can get them into the club before summer then so much the better.

But what you don't really want is a situation where you feel forced to go after someone that wouldn't be your main target. It is a more restricted market in January.

It's clear Celtic are looking to strengthen but whether or not they get what they are after may be determined by what decision is made in the boardroom.


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