Despite the recent resurgence of their rivals on the domestic and international stage, it has been nothing short of a golden era for Celtic Football Club. Since the start of the 2011/12 season, they have won 11 league titles, seven League Cups, and six Scottish Cups. The Scottish champions have an effective transfer model of buying players for a small fee and selling them for a significant profit. The Hoops have made many great signings over the past ten years, but to narrow it down, who are the top five best ones?
5. Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele signed for Celtic in 2016, with the Parkhead side paying Fulham a £500,000 development fee. The striker made an instant impact scoring a hat-trick on his Old Firm debut in the 5-1 victory at Celtic Park, scoring with his head, right foot, and left foot. He was the first player to score a hat-trick against Rangers since Harry Hood in 1973.
Dembele scored his first two Champions League group stage goals against Manchester City in what was a thrilling 3-3 draw. The Frenchman scored a late winner against Rangers in the 2016 League Cup semi-final and scored again in the final against Aberdeen, as they went on to beat them 3-0. It was Dembele’s first major honour of his career.
Dembele’s goal in the 5-2 win over St Johnstone was awarded the 2016/2017 ‘Goal of the Season’ and was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award. The forward left Celtic in 2018 to join Lyon for a transfer fee of £19.7 million. Dembele played 94 games for Celtic, scoring 51 goals, winning two league titles, two League Cups, and two Scottish Cups. The 27-year-old recently signed for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq and is playing under former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
4. Reo Hatate
Reo Hatate signed for Celtic on 31 December 2021 from Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale for £1.5 million. The midfielder made his debut in a 2-0 victory against Hibernian and was awarded man of the match. Hatate scored two goals and got an assist in Celtic’s 3-0 win over Rangers at Celtic Park. It was a memorable performance for the midfielder as he ran the Light Blues’ midfield ragged all night.
The Japanese international made his Champions League group stage debut against Real Madrid, and despite losing the game 3-0, he received praise from the media and fans alike for his outstanding performance. The 25-year-old has turned out to be a bargain and is the most technically gifted midfielder the club has signed in years. Hatate is in hot demand, and plenty of clubs are looking to get his signature before the summer transfer window shuts. If the flamboyant midfielder were to depart Celtic Park anytime soon – it would have to be for a hefty fee.
3. Kyogo Furuhashi
Celtic signed Kyogo Furuhashi from Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe for £4.6 million. Since signing the forward, he has proved to be a goal-scoring machine. In his debut season, he scored a brace against Hibs in the League Cup final, as the Hoops won the game 2-1. Kyogo only played 33 games in the 21/22 season due to injuries but was still able to score 20 goals in all competitions and make it into the PFA Scotland Premiership Team of the Year.
The following season is when the Japanese international truly came into his own – scoring his first Old Firm goal late on to make it 2-2, salvaging an all-important point at Ibrox, which proved to be crucial in the title race. Furuhashi scored a double against Rangers in the 2023 League Cup final, which saw the Hoops win the trophy for the second consecutive season.
Kyogo finished the season as a domestic treble winner, scoring 34 goals in 50 games. He also won the PFA Scotland’s Players’ Player of The Year, SFWA Footballer of the Year, and was again in the PFA Scotland Premiership Team of the Year. The 28-year-old recently signed a new four-year deal, keeping him at the club until 2027. Kyogo is Celtic’s talisman and has proved to be an excellent bit of business.
Jota joined Celtic in September 2021, on a season-loan long from Benfica, with an option to buy for £6.5 million. The winger quickly settled into Scottish football with six goals in his first 15 appearances and won Player of the Month for October and November. He finished the season with 13 goals and 14 assists and was the Hoops’ top assister. Celtic triggered the buyout clause and signed Jota on a five-year deal. The Portuguese winger scored a chip goal against Rangers in a 4-0 win at Parkhead. The cheeky chip was awarded as the PFA Scotland Goal of the Season.
Jota was integral in helping Celtic achieve the treble, scoring 15 goals and 12 assists. The 24-year-old left Celtic to join Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad for £25 million. He’s quick, creative with incredible flair in his game and will be tough to replace.
1. Odsonne Edouard
Odsonne Edouard originally joined Celtic on loan in 2017, but in 2018 was signed for £9 million, making him the club’s most expensive signing. The Frenchman has all the attributes in his locker that make him a brilliant modern game striker and is arguably their best forward since club legend Henrik Larsson. Edouard was named in the 2018 golden boy award shortlist and was the only player playing in Scotland to be in contention for it. Edouard scored vital goals for the Hoops -with his most important coming in the 2019 Scottish Cup final 2-1 win against Hearts as he got a brace to help the club win a third domestic treble in a row.
The striker’s accolades during his time in Glasgow are nothing short of sensational; three Scottish Premierships, two Scottish Cups, two League Cups, SFWA Player of the Year 19/20, Scottish Premiership top goal scorer 19/20, 20/21, PFA Scotland Team of the Year 20/21 and Celtic Player of the Year 19/20. On 31 August 2021, Edouard signed for Crystal Palace for £14 million and is currently doing well for the London side in the Premier League. Overall, Edouard played 179 games for Celtic and scored 87 goals.
By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Craig Williamson – SNS Group