CHRIS SUTTON has admitted he is “puzzled” by Ryan Christie’s situation at Celtic.
The former goal hero has been left baffled by the Scotland’s international’s contract position where the 26-year-old playmaker will be able to quit the Parkheead club in January for nothing.
Sutton has urged the Hoops hierarchy to make the player a contract extension he cannot reject – RIGHT NOW!
Kristoffer Ajer (Brentford), Vakoun Issouf Bayo (Gent), Jack Hendry (Oostende) and Marian Shved (Mechelin) have exited the club in recent weeks and there is the continued speculation surrounding Odsonne Edouard who is now in the final year of his terms.
However, the former Inverness Caley Thistle midfielder, who cost a bargain £500,000 when he arrived in Glasgow in the summer of 2015, is the one the Celts should not allow to get away.
HIGH HOPES…Ryan Christie watches as Vasilis Barkas juggles with the ball from a right-wing cross in the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland at Parkhead on Tuesday.
Sutton insisted: “Ryan Christie doesn’t look like a man pushing to get out of Celtic. In fact, I’d say it’s the polar opposite.
“Watching him against Midtjylland in midweek, I saw a player with total commitment to the club and the ability to play a vital part in the future.
“Celtic should be going to him with a contract offer right now that he simply can’t turn down.
“At one stage he was one of the first names on the team sheet having managed to get into the thinking of Brendan Rodgers and, although his form dipped last term, you could say that about almost every member of the squad.
“Christie is an international player who can cover a variety of positions, he scores goals, he creates them and he plays with a high intensity. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but that sounds like a perfect player for Ange Postecoglou.”
Sutton, speaking in the Daily Record, continued: “You can say what you like about him, he gives it his all and I was really impressed with him against the Danes in midweek.
ON TARGET…Ryan Christie looks relieved after scoring against Falkirk in the Scottish Cup last season.
“Christie was a real threat throughout the contest and he was at the heart of most of the good things that the team did with 11 men and then with 10.
“For all we know negotiations are underway and he’s on the brink of signing a new deal. But if that was the case you’d think it would have been done by now.
“The fact it’s not puzzles me. When I was struggling at Chelsea, I knew at the end of the previous season I was for the off and I knew that it was Spurs, Middlesbrough and Celtic that wanted me. It was clear and it was done quickly.
“If Christie, or Odsonne Edouard, have a queue of suitors, I’m at a loss to understand what is the hold up in them going? Or maybe there isn’t a queue.
“Burnley want the playmaker, but they are not a better option than Celtic, England or not England. Anyway, I’m not sure if he’d fancy their style of play. The fact Christie hasn’t been snapped up already tells me the door is open to get him re-signed and that’s a door I’d be walking through.
“At a time of transition, he’s a quality player who can make a difference and he knows the scene.
“Regardless of the ongoing situation, looking at the here and now, Christie was the best player on the pitch against Midtjylland.
FRUSTRATED…Ange Postecoglou on the touchline against the Danes.
“I was impressed by many aspects of the performance in the first leg. For 40 minutes, Postecoglou’s stamp was on the team.
“They attacked at pace, they looked dangerous and Liel Abada produced a goal which his early promise suggested to have the team 1-0 up and cruising until Nir Bitton decided to act like a child and get himself red-carded to undo much of the good work and halt momentum.”
Sutton added: “Celtic have a 50-50 shot of going through into the next round and giving Postecoglou an early boost ahead of the Premiership starting against Hearts next weekend.
“If others show the same levels of quality and desire that Christie showed in the first leg, my old club still has a fighting chance to book their place in the next stage of the Champions League.
“And then Christie should be taken into an office to sign a deal.”
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v West Ham this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.