Ange Postecoglou has revealed he’s already drawn up a list of transfer targets for next season’s Champions League as he prepares to get his hands on the top flight title.
And the first star through the door at Celtic is set to be Iraq full-back Mohanad Jeahze from Swedish club Hammarby.
The Australian is closing in on a £2m deal for the highly-rated left-back who has 18 months left on his contract.
Postecoglou can tie up a spectacular first season in Scottish football tonight by taking at least a point from Tannadice and clinching the Premiership crown after overseeing a massive squad rebuild.
And he is hoping a further raft of new arrivals will be rushed into the club’s Lennoxtown HQ over the course of the next month in time for the start of his pre-season preparations and a crack at European football’s premier event.
Asked if he wants the next recruitment phase of his revolution to be in place ahead of the coming campaign Postecoglou said: “Yeah, most definitely. The work has already started, we’re already planning and I’ve already had conversations with the club about the kind of players we want to identify and bring into the club.
“Our priority is to try to get that done early so that come pre-season, with us hopefully winning the Premiership and getting straight into the group stage, we know we’ve got a really good opportunity in pre-season to work with the group of players without the pressure of competition.
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“It would be great if we could have all the new players in by that time. Sometimes these things are taken out of your hands a little bit, but out intent is to try to get our business done early.
“We know what we need, we’ve already identified the areas we need to improve, so we’ve already started working on that.”
And Postecoglou – who will be without injured Croat Josip Juranovic on Wednesday night – admits the summer plans should be made less complicated by avoiding the dreaded early Euro qualifying rounds.
He went on: “There’s so much uncertainty around it because even in terms of your recruitment, you don’t know if you’re recruiting for the Champions League or not.
“You don’t know that until you go through the qualifiers, so there’s all these sort of unknowns, and usually at that time of year you have players coming in at all different times, particularly with internationals and so forth. You’re not really primed to perform, so it’s a challenging period.
“Not having that just allows you to map out a pre-season of certainty in terms of friendly games and the kind of work we want to do with the players without worrying that we need to be at a good competitive level too early.”
Celtic, though, have now gone 18 years without winning a knock-out round in European competition. And Postecoglou is determined to make up for lost time.
He added: “Well mate, it’s where we want the club to be. We want the club to be at that level on a consistent basis, that’s our overall goal.
“If you’re in that rarefied air often enough then you gain the experience to also make an impact.
“That’s our challenge. It’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be very challenging, but what an opportunity for us as a football club to expose our players and our team against the very best in Europe.
“Hopefully the experience gives us the incentive to keep being at that level, and as I said, if we can stay consistently at that level then we will increase our chances of making an impact.”