Rodgers reveals he nearly signed Declan Rice at Celtic

Rodgers reveals he nearly signed Declan Rice at Celtic

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has claimed that he came very close to bringing England and Arsenal midfielders to Celtic during his first spell with the Celtic giants.

Rodgers' first spell in Glasgow occurred from 2016 to 2019, during which he achieved a quadruple treble with the club. He then left to join Leicester City, and he has now returned to Scotland for a second spell.

As the transfer window opened this week, Rodgers was asked about potential incoming players at Celtic to strengthen his team.

"The club will do absolutely everything we can to support what we need and what the team needs," he said.

"There is lots of work going on in the background, and I’m pretty sure that in this early period of the month, we can have some joy and get one or two in. Ideally, you’d want to get them in early.

"Deals can be complicated, and things that might have been there for three or four months can fall away. That’s always the challenge—it only takes one injury to affect a player who was lined up to come in."

Rice during his first outing for England in March 2019 in a Euro 2020 qualifier against the Czech Republic at Wembley (Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Rodgers also explained further that the nature of transfer deals can take a substantial amount of time to complete. He referred to Rice as the one who got away from him and urged fans to be patient.

Rice has now established himself as one of the best players in his role. His performances for West Ham and England prompted Arsenal and Arteta to splash £105 million in the summer. However, Rice's career trajectory could have been different if not for an injury.

"I remember when I was here the first time, we spent about three months looking for Declan Rice to come in,"he added.

"Declan was all set to come in, and then all of a sudden they (West Ham) had an injury. He stayed and got on the team, and the rest is history. That’s not the club’s fault; it’s just the way it goes.

"We have a number of positions we want to prioritise. There are other positions where we won’t be able to do anything until the summer; I know that. But what I do know is that we want to improve the squad, and the club is very happy to support that."

Celtic's next game will be against Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup on January 21.