Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara yesterday talked up the Nadir Ciftci’s move to Celtic – if the price is right for the Tannadice club.
McNamara said that he can understand Ciftci being ‘flattered’ by Celtic’s interest in the player – but the ex-Celtic captain said that this interest is irrelevant unless the 4IAR Champions pay an over inflated price for the player who United were prepared to sell to Wigan last week for £1M.
CQN Magazine understands that Celtic will be back in for the third and final time for the player and are confident that a deal will be done, with the price reaching around £1.3M.
Last week Celtic had two bids rejected, the first for £900k and the second that matched the price Wigan offered and Dundee United accepted, only for the Turkish striker to reject the chance to play in England’s third tier.
McNamara, who in February admitted that he receives a percentage cut of transfer fees, and his chairman Stephen Thompson are currently talking up the price for Celtic towards the £1.5m mark.
The player’s agent, former Celtic striker Pierre van Hooijdonk has disclosed that Nadir Ciftci would be ‘interested’ in going to Celtic and the player may well be tempted to sit tight, wind down the final year of his contract and wait for his move in January in a similar fashion to the route taken by Gary Mackay-Steven on his journey to Celtic Park. In that instance Dundee United had to accept a mere £250,000 for the hugely talented winger.
‘I haven’t spoken to Nadir about it because there is no need,’ McNamara revealed. ‘The club hasn’t accepted anything from Celtic for the lad to have an opinion or to go and speak to them about it.
‘Obviously there has been interest there but it’s not been enough for him to go and speak to them yet. Nadir is fine. He understands what is happening.’
McNamara also admitted he could do nothing about the player being ‘flattered’ by Celtic’s interest.
‘He’s not going to tell lies about it,’ said the United boss. ‘He will be flattered. Everyone wants to be wanted, whether it is here or anywhere else. Everyone wants to be liked, not just by the club you are at. People like praise. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
‘There isn’t much more I can say because I don’t know what is going to happen, whether he is going to be here or there. I have to prepare as if he is going to be here with us. The lad needs to do the same.’
Dundee United faced a fan backlash when they sold Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven to the 4IAR at the end of the January transfer window, although the revelation that McNamara benefited personally from the sale as part of his contractual arrangement with the club was a key factor in this disquiet.
For all the salesmanship and bluster the Tannadice side know that they have a player who wants away and is a decreasing asset as soon as the window closes. A January purchase would save Celtic at least £1M so can Celtic call United’s bluff and wait for the winter window? It is more likely that United will blink this week.
Reflecting on this McNamara said about Ciftci’s contract position with United:
‘He is not the first player to go into his last year. GMS did it last season.
‘We don’t have a lot of power as a club. Which is why, looking back now, were we right or wrong about Stuart (Armstrong) leaving?
‘Stuart would have been in the same position, whether you write it off or get him to commit longer-term. Once the window closes, Nadir would be here until at least January.’
And Van Hooijdonk has indicated that Ciftci would not be forced into a move elsewhere, with the player’s heart set on a move to Paradise.
‘Nadir is very comfortable in this situation,’ he said. ‘He is not panicking. ‘When the offer is right for United and for the player, he will listen to the offer. If it’s not, he won’t be forced to move. He told Wigan he does not want to go there. If United accept an offer from Celtic, we could talk.’