It will not have escaped your attention that Scott Bain is the only senior goalkeeper under contract at Celtic. Fraser Forster is floating around while we wait and see if we can afford to meet Southampton’s terms (assume nothing here), while Craig Gordon rejected a “vastly reduced” offer to stay.
I know how important Fraser was last season, so if at all possible, I would have him back, but as a general position, I would be reluctant to pay comparable rates to anyone not in the ‘absolutely critical’ category. Football clubs everywhere cannot afford the contracts they paid last year. Like Celtic, many have to pay expensive long-term deals, but there can scarcely be a club in the world that would not be happy to offload players to generate enough cash to keep them in grass seed.
With so much trauma in the market, the clubs who shed expensive contracts and take advantage of newfound value from places they could not afford to buy from a year ago, will make the biggest gains this year.
The challenge for Celtic is to find a keeper who can mount a genuine challenge as first choice on the “vastly reduced” offer we made to Craig. The same is true for other positions we are looking to fill. Having missed Champions League football for two seasons, we have to be frank and admit that despite closing in on a fourth consecutive treble and nine-in-a-row, there are better players across Europe than some in our squad. 2020 will be the year of the trader, let’s roll the dice!
I’m not against reconstruction on principle, but like everyone else in the country, the first thing I think of is, “What’s in it for my club?” A 14 team top flight has two fewer games against bottom 6 (or 8) clubs. These games do nothing for Celtic beyond cluttering up our calendar, so I’m happy with that.
Since Hearts have moved on from both the football-competency and arrogant-belligerence approaches to avoiding relegation, their latest proposal, for a 14-10-10-10 setup hit the “What’s in it for me?” question. For most clubs the answer is nothing, beyond putting your name to a motion that helps a club that participated in an outrageous charade against the league in recent months. Aesop could have told the tale of Hearts actions this year.