So much was in play when Jota signed his permanent contract with Celtic a year ago. 12 months earlier, Celtic agreed a loan with option to buy deal for £6.5m with Benfica. They did not, however, have a corresponding agreement with the player.
By summer 2022, Benfica, Celtic and Jota all knew that that £6.5m fee massively undervalued the winger. Benfica could do nothing about it, Celtic made their contract offer and Jota’s agent went out to market looking for a better deal.
The agent’s problem was that no other club had a £6.5m option, Benfica asked for a far higher fee, which inhibited the player contract value. Wage offers were largely on a par with Celtic’s deal, so Jota signed on for five years.
Five years is a long contract for a player who has a notion they could get more unhindered by a transfer fee, so the deal took on a few clauses, one of which we heard about at the weekend, a wage hike triggered by a £25m offer.
The whole Jota experience has been a fantastic endorsement of where Celtic are right now. The player made a career total of 9 starts in senior football before coming to Celtic. NINE. STARTS. We found him, agreed an expensive option, despite the lack of faith shown by Real Valladolid the previous year and parent club Benfica. How is that even possible? What level of granular information and analytical skills do you have across thousands of players to be able to find that golden nugget? It is an astonishing achievement – we are operating at a genuinely elite level.
Contract negotiations in 2021 and 2022 were perfect – can you imagine feeling good if we allowed Benfica to cancel our option for a £1m fee? He leaves for a reported fee of £25m, a new high, if not significantly higher than Kieran Tierney’s.
If you think, “Good deal but would be better if he stayed another year”, respectfully, you are not thinking strategically. The slower you are at turning players around and reinvesting in the squad, the slower progress the team is going to make. We have to commit to strategy of there is no point in having one. Always be ready to trade!
All the best, Jota. We’ll hopefully see you back to do the Paradise Windfall.
Michael Nicholson has the showbiz touch. I don’t believe for a moment that the (fantastic) Kyogo contract was finalised this morning. We will reinvest some of the Jota money into new contracts for existing players, Kyogo’s new four-year deal is the first, Michael had it lined up waiting to press the button today.
He is a player who could do a job at any club in England, and while he is not a direct replacement for Harry Kane, I was worried Spurs would try to pick him up. I’m delighted at the news. He is a star of a human being, never mind a footballer. Well done, Celtic. More on Kyogo later this week.