Nicky Hammond linked with Celtic's Director of Football role

Celtic are being linked with a move for former West Brom Technical Director Nicky Hammond to fill the the vacant role of Director of Football.

The Parkhead side have been looking for a Director of Football since the departure of Lee Congerton to Leicester City at the end of last season.

Manager Neil Lennon had been interested in bringing back John Park to the club, but the former Head of Scouting at Celtic looks set to join Sunderland as their Director of Football once their takeover is completed.

Hammond was sacked by West Brom in March 2018 as the-then English Premier League side undertook a major restructuring of staff - which ultimately resulted in the club being relegated. He had been at the Hawthorns for two years following his move from a similar role with Reading.

So who is Nicky Hammond?

He started his youth career at Arsenal in 1985 before making his league debut whilst on loan to Bristol Rovers a year later. Further loan spells followed at Peterborough and Aberdeen, before joining Swindon Town on a free transfer in 1987.

He had a short spell with Plymouth Argyle between 1995 to 1996, before being loaned to Reading in December 1995. Hammond was handed a goalkeeping coaching role by Alan Pardew after retiring from the game due to a recurring back injury.

In 2000, he was appointed Reading’s Youth Academy Director, before being appointed Director of Football in 2003, playing a key role in the Championship club twice winning promotion to the Premier League in 2006 and 2012.

He left Reading in April 2016 becoming Technical Director at West Brom at the behest of Tony Pulis, but two years later he was shown the door at the Hawthorns after a restructuring of the back room and management staff from the board room to dugout by the club’s new owners.

Who did he sign for West Brom?

Hammond made some notable signings during his time at West Brom, some more successful than others. With the likes of Ahmed Hegazi, Jay Rodriguez, Kieran Gibbs, Gareth Barry and Matt Phillips all starring for the Baggies. Other players during his time included Daniel Sturridge [on loan from Liverpool], Grzegorz Krychowiak [on loan from Paris Saint Germain], Allan Nyom, Nacer Chadli, Marc Wilson, Hal Robson-Kanu, Jake Livermore.

He was also instrumental in the signing of Oliver Burke from RB Leipzig for £15 million - who recently spent the second half of last season on loan at Celtic.

Money matters if Hammond joins

Other than his link to Oliver Burke and paying out £15 million for the Scotland international, there are some more worrying signs for Celtic with the appointment of Hammond - specifically around finances.

During his time at West Brom, 73% of the club’s annual turnover of £96.2 million was spent on players wages as the club saw a signficant rise in players wages - this isn’t a great surprise for an English club though, given the state of the market down there.

Shortly after signing for West Brom, Hammond said: You have to be careful [wages]. You have to find the right balance. This club [West Brom] is competitive in terms of its wage structure in the Premier League and it has to be.

"It's not a club that historically has spent millions and millions on transfer fees. If you can find a player on a free transfer and pay good wages to the player then if you add it in to the whole then the numbers don't look quite so frightening, so intimidating. That's something this club has done particularly well."

Subsequently, Hammond spent big on the likes of Rodriguez, Burke, and Nacer Chadli - with all three having a combined transfer fees of £40 million.

West Bromwich Albion Technical Director Nick Hammond speaks after joining West Bromwich Albion in 2016.