CELTIC are due to kick off their Champions League adventure in the midweek of September 17/19.

All will be revealed when the draw is made on August 29 for the new-look format in European football’s elite tournament.

Norwich City have two second-tier fixtures book-ending what is certain to be a glamorous occasion for the Hoops – a match at Swansea on September 14 and, a week later, a home game against Watford.

No disrespect to the Carrow Road club, who have been out of the English top flight since relegation in 2019/20, or their worthy opponents, but where do you think Adam Idah would rather be plying his trade that particular week?

JOY BHOY…Adam Idah celebrates his Scottish Cup Final winner on May 25.

I am not suggesting for a moment the 23-year-old Republic of Ireland international striker will down tools if he is still in East Anglia in the new campaign. After all, he still has four years to run on his contract at the club.

Norwich City have reportedly knocked back the champions’ bid of something in the region of £4.5million with add-ons for a forward who had become a bit-part player in ex-manager Dave Warner’s grand scheme of things.

They were happy to allow Idah to move on loan to the champions on the January deadline day and were canny enough not to name a price for the powerhouse hitman in an option to buy clause in the deal.

As the Cork-born attack-leader exited the club, they ushered in Sydney van Hooijdonk on a temporary transfer from Bologna with a £4.5million price tag as a possibility if the forward performed well during his spell in England.

While Idah struck nine goals – including the Scottish Cup Final winner – in 19 appearances in Glasgow, the 24-year-old Dutchman fired blanks in 12 outings in Norfolk.

Any thoughts of bringing in Van Hooijdonk at the agreed price and making a tidy profit on Idah vanished in a veil of mediocrity from the son of ex-Celt Pierre. No goals, no business done.

LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED…Adam Idah, watched by Daizen Maeda, fires in the opening goal in the 5-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on May 15 as Celtic seal their third successive title.

Before Warner could rethink his strategy, he was given a tap on the shoulder, asked to clear out his locker and was handed his P45 after Norwich failed to win their way through the play-offs.

In May, CQN warned of a nest of vipers lying in wait when they pursued making Idah’s stay permanent. We flagged up the very real possibility of Norwich holding a summer auction to offload their player to the highest bidder.

You don’t need to be gifted the IQ of Nostradamus to predict agents, old Mr Ten Percent themselves, will have have been busy seeking out would-be suitors for the player. His six goals in 28 appearances prior to his switch to Celtic didn’t appear to impress too many folk in that part of the world.

Of course, Norwich have every right to maximise the worth of the frontman and, after missing out on the riches of the Premier League, the club will wish to provide new gaffer Johannes Hoff Thorup as much cash as possible to strengthen the squad before they go again in their quest for the promised land.

Originally, a fee of £3million had been bandied around for the Irish attacker, but, within weeks, that figure appeared to DOUBLE and, as I am not privy to what is going on at boardroom level at either club, it is purely guesswork just how many zeros would have to follow a prime number on a cheque to get the transfer done and dusted.

Idah’s name has been catapulted into the headlines and the soccer public’s awareness following his considerable deeds at Parkhead.

PICK IT OUT…Adam Idah pounces to thump the ball past Rangers keeper Jack Butland to clinch Celtic’s 42nd Scottish Cup. 

Managers who did not possess the remotest interest in the player’s future in January cannot have failed to have sat up and taken notice of what the burly marksman produced at Brendan Rodgers’ side.

The Hoops gaffer has made it abundantly clear he wants the player to return on a permanent basis, the Celtic squad to a man agree with their boss and Idah has expressed his lifetime fondness for Celtic.

But, as CQN also pointed out in May, Michael Nicholson and the Parkhead powerbrokers could be in for some tough negotiating throughout the summer.

Celtic, of course, hold an ace in the fact Idah wants to return. According to reports, he has already made his preference known to his current employers.

The Norwich City bosses could play hardball, throw up a crazy figure and dig their heels in.

Celtic’s money men, on the other hand, cannot be held to ransom. If they pay over the odds for Idah, they will automatically become fair game for every club with a player to sell. Prices will go through the roof when the champions come calling.

A compromise must be sought to produce the outcome that suits everyone.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Brendan Rodgers congratulates goal hero Adam Idah at Hampden.

If Celtic withdraw and look elsewhere, the Norfolk club run the risk of having a dissatisfied player among the ranks.

Remember The Three Amigos – Paulo Di Canio, Jorge Cadete and the aforementioned Pierre van Hooijdonk? After a fall-out with Fergus McCann over finances, there was no way any of the star trio would be remaining at the club.

Celtic could have held them to their contracts, but what would have been the point? The threesome went public with their desire to vamoose out of town. The sensible option was to sell them at the best price and carry on taking care of business with players who wanted to be at Parkhead.

Once again, I stress I don’t believe for a heartbeat that Idah won’t give his best if he remains at Carrow Road.

But Norwich City are playing a dangerous game if they price their player out of the market while denying a young Irishman the opportunity to follow his dream.

I’m fairly certain Idah would be prefer to be on the pitch when Zadok The Priest is playing rather than sitting in front of his TV wondering of what might have been.


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