I’ve been looking for signs for an inflationary bounce in English football. The next Premier League TV deal is still 12 months away but at this stage before previous TV deals kicked in, clubs started spending ahead of themselves as they looked to secure a piece of the lucrative new deal. In particular, I’m keen to see how central defenders are valued.
Today news broke that West Brom agreed a deal with newly-relegated Hull City to sign central defender, James Chester (26) for £8m. Chester has 11 months left on his contract at Hull. Three years in the English Championship and 45 Premier League games over two seasons was enough evidence to induce modest West Brom to pay the asking price.
It would have helped that three other Premier League clubs, Southampton, Aston Villa and Newcastle, were also reportedly interested, but no one is making false claims for a lad who has not troubled the scouts of England’s top clubs. He’s a modest player who is able to sign a pre-contract in January. This is a spectacular fee, passing between two modest clubs, for a central defender.
Consequences for us? We’ll see.
I’m doing a State of the Club article for Friday, as we do the day before the league campaign starts. So far there’s a flow to the words. A solid result on Wednesday will reaffirm that, whereas a reversal would, frankly, deem a satisfactory assessment inappropriate.
So much turns on these next few games, Champions League qualification, squillions of pounds, and sure, the State of the Club. We’ve come through a few iterations of acceptable levels of performance over the last 20 years, since winning our first trophy in six years. Younger readers will never appreciate how precious a 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Airdrie could be.
These days it’s all about the treble and Champions League group stage qualification. The loss of a cup would be an annoyance, but Celtic need to be part of the Champions League.
Our friends at Magners have offered a pair of Premium seat tickets for the Jock Stein Stand at the opening league game of the season on Saturday. To enter, all you need to do is email me with the name [IN THE SUBJECT LINE] of who we play that day, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to donate £1 to the CQN Mary’s Meals school kitchen appeal, help towards what would be our fifth kitchen in Malawi, you can do so here:
Entries close at 6pm this evening, so not much time.