Over the years, there have been a lot of great players Celtic have missed out on signing. During the time of Ange Postecoglou as manager of the club, the likes of Kaoru Mitoma and Micky van de Ven were linked with the club. Of course, moves to Parkhead did not materialise and they have gone on to prove themselves as top players in the Premier League since then.
When it comes to Brendan Rodgers' first spell as Celtic manager, John McGinn is often brought up as the player who the club let slip through their fingers. But as it turns out, it seems that they were close to signing an even more high-profile midfielder.
Declan Rice joined Arsenal in a £105 million move in the summer. But if things had turned out a bit differently, he might have been playing for Celtic today.
It looks like Celtic were close to signing Rice during Rodgers' first spell at Parkhead but a move failed to materialise due to the circumstances at West Ham United. As reported by The Sun, the Northern Irish manager said:
"I remember when I was here the first time, we spent about three months looking for Declan Rice to come in.
“Declan was all set to come in and then all of a sudden they (West Ham) had an injury, he stayed and got in the team and the rest is history.
"That’s not the club’s fault – it’s just the way it goes."
Rodgers shares why Rice's Celtic move collapsed
Rice has gone on to establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the world since then. Not only is he a regular in the England national team but also one of the centre-pieces of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side that seems capable of challenging for not just the Premier League but potentially the Champions League as well.
Someone like Rice could have been a fantastic signing for Celtic. He might have been the long-term successor to Scott Brown, a role that the Hoops are yet to fill despite Broony's exit in 2021.
Of course, Rice would have been considered as a 'project signing' at that point in time. That just goes on to show the importance of bringing in youngsters to the club but at the same time, making sure that the recruitment team gets it right.