As the delayed transfer window came to a close on the 5th of October, several top European clubs made significant additions to their squad in the final 24 hours of the window. Deals in the eleventh hour came hard and fast with Premier League clubs at the top of the list, with several multi-million pound signings and a whole bunch of loan deals. In the Scottish Premiership, the two top clubs, namely Celtic and Rangers, concluded their hunt for first-team additions on deadline day, much to the delight of fans and their gaffers.
After spending much of the window making rounds in the rumor mill, the Light Blues finally landed Bongani Zungu from Ligue 2 side Amiens on a season-long loan deal. Having pursued him for a good part of the window, the addition of the South African will be positive news for Gerrard’s side, as they struggle with injuries in the middle of the park.
Zungu played a key part in his national team’s run in last year’s African Cup of Nations, where they edged out title favorites Egypt to claim a spot in the Quarter-finals, before being knocked out by Nigeria in that fixture. Now, in the final year of his contract with Amiens, the robust central midfielder will be available for free in January, which will certainly boost the Rangers squad for the next few seasons.
The Gers have made significant additions to their first team roster, having signed attackers Kemar Roofe and Ianis Hagi from the Belgian league, as well as Cedric Itten from the Swiss League, who have proven to be useful signings as far as the current season goes. The Ibrox management was shrewd in the transfer market, bringing significant players to Gerrard’s team on free transfers, most notably Leon Balogun from the Latics, goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin from Sunderland, and Jermain Defoe from Championship side Bournemouth. Youngster Calvin Bassey rounds up the key arrivals on the blue side of Glasgow.
In a deal that has pleasantly surprised Celtic fans, the Parkhead management confirmed the arrival of experienced Serie A left-back Diego Laxalt on a season-long loan deal from AC Milan. A player of Laxalt’s calibre will certainly add another dimension to the Celts attack and defense and he will slot into the left wing-back role in the first team, ahead of Greg Taylor immediately.
After failing to make inroads into deals for Alfie Doughty and Mitchel Bakker, they have finally succeeded in adding another left-back to replace the disgraced Boli Bolingoli. Bolingoli left the club on a loan deal to Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign. Much like their Glasgow rivals Rangers, Celtic have also enjoyed a successful deadline day of the transfer window.
Apart from that, they added the current first-team goalie Vasilios Barkas from Athens in a £4.5m deal. The Celts also acquired two Premier League players who were on the fringes of their teams – forward Albian Ajeti joined permanently from West Ham after failing to make an impact for the London club and centre-back Shane Duffy joined on loan from Brighton having fallen down the pecking order in Graham Potter’s side. Finally, Celtic added Scottish under-21 international David Turnbull from Motherwell for an undisclosed fee.
Both Rangers and Celtic have enjoyed promising starts to their domestic and european campaign, alongside a successful transfer deadline day. They have successfully overcome the qualifying rounds of the Europe League and have secured places in the group stages.
With an Old Firm derby on the horizon and several rounds of European matches in the upcoming winter months, it will be fascinating to see which club’s signings fare better for their teams and can Rangers halt Celtic’s run to 10IAR.