Late last night Celtic got their goalkeeper, Scott Bain (26), on loan from Dundee, from where he had already been loaned to Hibs this month, while also landing Jack Hendry (22) on a permanent deal from Dundee.
The Hendry deal is intriguing. The player didn’t get much of a chance to shine before being released by Wigan in the summer. Two dozen games for Dundee later and he is a Celtic player. This is not a conventional career path, so what are Celtic doing here?
First of all, the player has the attributes Brendan Rodgers looks for in a central defender. He has pace and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. The jump from Dens Park to the Allianz Arena is eye-watering, but when you have just signed a four and a half year contract at Celtic, someone must think you are capable of reaching the required standard to play at the latter venue one day.
I don’t know if Jack will make it that far in the game, but I am pretty sure Brendan Rodgers will improve him as a player and craft him into a valuable professional – one we may sell at a profit one day.
Set alongside the signing of Lewis Morgan (21), you can see a strategy here. If a Scottish player in his early 20s raises his profile high enough, we’ll sign him. Only some will make the grade, but the aggregate financial consideration of having these players at the club will probably be profitable.
Alongside all investment in youth sits Marvin Compper (32), one time German international and by all accounts, the real deal. Marvin will have the responsibility of leading the younger defenders through their on-field development.
The other side of the transfer window equation passed without Celtic cashing in any of their premium chips. By the time Moussa took to the field against Hearts on Tuesday, he knew he was going nowhere, and his performance indicated that whatever was previously on his mind had passed. Kieran Tierney’s recent contract renewal seems to have convinced all that there is no business to be had there. I expect some movement out in the summer in the central mid and central def positions.
You and I have been through January transfer windows when the objective has been to make sure we win the league. Now it is all about player development and getting ready for the inevitable Champions League qualifiers. We have not measurably improved our chances against Zenit this month, but it is not clear how possible this is (or even if it is necessary).
The market in England took another step into the ridiculous this window, possibly in anticipation of the announcement of a bumper new TV deal later this month. The new deal will not come into effect until summer 2019, but previously we have seen player values inflate immediately after the deal is announced. Game Theory suggests this inflating possibility will have been anticipated.
What you and I have also pondered for over a decade is when the great English football bubble will burst. I’m not going to predict that date, but just as sure as we knew Rangers would crash and burn years before they did, so will the English Premier League. The model has inherent risks which cannot be safely accommodated. Let’s wait and see how much Sky TV are prepared to pay this time.
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