They call it Helicopter Money. Income that just lands in your lap without you having to do any work for it. It brings a special kind of joy. The millions Celtic will earn as a result of a sell-on clause from Virgil van Dijk’s £75m sale to Liverpool is a classic of the genre.
Right off, let’s acknowledge a few facts. Virgil’s £2.6m capture from Groningen was a brilliant piece of business by the club. Many are due credit for this, including Neil Lennon and Peter Lawwell, but the occasionally-maligned John Park, in particular, deserves applause.
Park lost his Midas touch after the January 2012 capture of Mikael Lustig, but that had as much to do with the change in comparative finances between Celtic and the bottom of the English Premier League, than any degradation of our former chief scout’s ability.
Virgil had played only 62 games in senior football when he signed for Celtic. We got him because we moved, showing incredible agility, before anyone else had the opportunity to act. We will not be able to exactly recreate the Virgil business – others see where and how exceptional value has been earned and copy, but this has always been the case.
What we can say for sure is that few clubs anywhere in the world have the success rate of Celtic at finding under-priced footballers and transforming them into Champions League players who are sold at multiples of five or ten times value.
NEW CQN PODCAST OUT NOW! CHRISTMAS JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS
Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham are joined by Celtic authors, Stephen Sullivan and Stevie Murray for a special festive episode – Christmas Jumpers for Goal-Posts.
Stephen Sullivan is a former Celtic View reporter who wrote the much-lauded Sean Fallon biography, ‘Iron Man’. He is now the editor of FIFA.com.
Stevie Murray has now written two books on Celtic – ‘Ten Men Won The League’ and ‘Kenny of the Celtic’ – and he is a respected and authoritative voice on the club.
Treat yourself to a signed copy of Jim Craig – Right Back to 67 and you will receive a copy of That Season on Paradise signed by Bertie Auld, just order the Jim Craig book at CQNbookstore.co.uk and we’ll do the rest…