Two players arrived during this transfer window: Rami Gershon and Tom Rogic, with no first team players leaving the club. I don’t know what Neil has planned for Rami but his loan deal and stats at Standard Liege suggests he is here as cover. I expect to see as much of him as we saw of Pawel Brozek last season.
20-year-old Tom Rogic is different. He joins the club on the same runway as Victor Wanyama, Beram Kayal, Adam Matthews, Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre. I’ve refused to watch his YouTube clips but there is every reason to hope he will be as successful a recruit as our other recent acquisitions of a similar profile.
I’ve been banging on about Asset Management for years. The mantra being – they all have their price and if any club fails to grasp this reality they will underachieve. Against this backdrop, Gary Hooper will either sign a new contract in the coming weeks or there is a good chance he will leave for nothing when his contract expires in June 2014.
A fundamental problem prevented a deal being done for Gary last month. His value to Celtic, not necessarily in this season’s Champions League, but in the same tournament’s qualifiers in July and August, is far greater than his value to any suitor. In other words, his value as an asset is not measured by transfer fee alone. This squad should have enough to reach the Champions League group stages next season, worth the best part of £20m to Celtic. Any deals have to be measured against this target.
The kind of transfer decision Celtic made yesterday, a profitable club holding onto a player and at the risk of losing him leaving for free, is so much healthier than the scenario we previously faced, in an arms race with a rival who was prepared to spend money they could not afford in order to beat us. What a mistake that whole ‘Old Firm’ thing was. Glad to see the back of it.
The ‘big clubs’ in England didn’t come looking for Gary. Instead, a well-run club made several attempts to acquire a good player on a price appropriate for their income. No harm in that, you have to give Norwich the respect any yokel deserves trying to hook up with a beauty queen (nothing implied about people from Norwich, or Gary as a queen!).
There is no guarantee the same club will be playing top-flight football when he becomes available, or that a club with a greater income, or with a more flamboyant approach to spending, will move for him, so there is every chance that Gary and his new agent will figure out that an extra year on his Celtic contract for a hefty wage rise is a decent option.
There is an interesting side plot to the Hooper non-transfer. Victor Wanyama is sitting on an offer of a substantial wage increase to extend his contract from 2015 to 2016. Unless someone comes in with an offer greater than his value to Celtic in Champions League campaigns he’ll be here until 2015.
Chances of both players signing new contracts in the coming months has to be a wee bit higher today. All those meaningless scripts about Celtic being a selling club floating around various places will have to be shelved for another time. We are a selling club, but only at the right price and the right time, just as it should be.
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