Your timely reminder. Players who are available at the start of a transfer window fall into one of a few categories:
Their clubs do not value them.
Their clubs need for cash is too urgent to wait until the end of the window (see Rapid Vienna).
Their clubs operate in a weak market, where the offer was a surprise and no other is expected.
When the player downs tools.
If a club is operating under normal financial circumstances and has an in-demand talent, why would it sell before the end of the window, when they can work on attracting higher bids? If you were Celtic manager, why would you sanction the sale of a top player early in a window?
We all know why deals happen late in the window. It frustrates the life out of all of us, but it’s the consequence of a natural bargaining position. Yet, goldfish-like memories really struggle with how the world around them works. There are exceptions, but see the above list for every one of them.
Then there’s the buyer. Option 4 is available, and you can have him at the start of the window but none of the coaches really want Option 4. They want Option 1, Option 2 at a push, but the further down the list you go, the less likely they are to give you the green light. You might even hear, “Option 4 is no better than what we’ve got, so forget it” – which happens often.
Celtic are in the market for a striker. Utrecht managed to sign a 26-year-old striker on 10 January with a Europa League winners medal, and experience in the Italian and German top flights. Celtic have Oh at the Asian Cup and are relying on Kyogo, why can’t we do what Utrecht have managed?
We are in the market for a left back. Now Greg Taylor is injured, we have to play his understudy Alexandro Bernabei against Ross County. There are dozens of left backs available within Celtic’s budget, why haven’t we signed one already this month?
Tell me, why can’t we do what Utrecht did and sign a player with the pedigree of Sam Lammers, or just go out and spend £3.5m again and sign another Bernabei or Boli Bolingoli? It can’t be that difficult!
Failure to grasp how the world works – when it is so obvious and predictable – holds people back more than they are prepared to accept.
Delighted Matt O’Riley has his eyes on the prize.