WHAT a difference there has been between the respective transfer activity of Rangers and Celtic this summer.
The signing of Matt Gilks on a two-year deal on Friday made it seven new faces for Mark Warburton – with Nico Kranjcar, Joey Barton, Clint Hill, Jordan Rossiter, Matt Crooks and Josh Windass joining the Scotland squad keeper.
Across the other side of Glasgow, meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers has been keeping his powder dry.
That has surprised many.
It is safe to assume when the man who took Liverpool to within touching distance of the English Premier League title in 2014 accepted the post, he will have negotiated a guarantee that a decent sum was available to him to spend on players.
Fifteen million pounds, to cover transfer fees and wages, is the figure that has been widely quoted. I don’t think that will be too far off the mark.
That being the case, it will be a different type of recruit the Northern Irishman will be after.
Rangers have been busy, very busy. But all their signings have been free agents, albeit free agents able to command significant wages.
I think Rodgers will look to actually spend money to bring in his style of players for three key positions – central defence, central midfield and up front.
Almost immediately after the announcement of his appointment, there were a flurry of stories linking Celtic with Joe Allen, who played under Rodgers at Swansea and Liverpool.
That hasn’t happened and I don’t believe it now will. As Liverpool’s rejection of Swansea’s £8 million bid on Friday showed, his value has shot up thanks to his performances in the Euros.
However, along with the Hoops’ failed seven-figure bid to get Scott Sinclair in from Aston Villa, it shows the type of ambition I am talking about.
Rodgers will aim to both dominate Scottish football and make an impact in the European game in his time at Celtic. I think to do so he will intend to make full use of the financial advantage he holds over his rivals.
At the same time, I don’t think it is a surprise to see the Northern Irishman exercising some caution. Managers know their first signings are put under more scrutiny than those that follow.
Likewise he has been frank in acknowledging the need to really cut the numbers of his existing squad while retaining the support of the group he has left.
I do wonder whether the Joey Barton signing across the city may have actually had a bigger impact on Aberdeen.
The Dons, Celtic’s closest challengers in the absence of Rangers in the top flight, have been very quiet in the transfer market so far and it strikes me the Pittodrie board might just have had a look at Barton’s move to Ibrox and decided the high wages game is one they don’t want to play.
They have opted instead to trust in the ability of their manager, Derek McInnes, and the strength of the squad he already has.
If so, it would be a shame. Rangers will add value to the Premiership but we also need a strong Aberdeen – and a strong Hearts – to provide additional competition for a Celtic team already sitting on five-in-a-row and looking to keep counting.