Teemu Pukki’s permanent move to Brondby for a reported £500k is good business for a player who never came close to commanding a regular starting place at Celtic. While we did well exiting him from Celtic Park but his arrival two years ago is worthy of review.
He came from Schalke as a 23-year-old, having been at Sevilla as a teenager and scoring slightly better than one in two in Finland. Even his Schalke stats were decent, 8 goals in 7 starts and 30 appearances from the bench, which for a sparingly used young player is around the mark expected. On paper, Teemu looked a good fit for us, so do we have anything to learn?
For a start, being able to score goals in the Bundesliga does not guarantee you will be able to translate this into an even better scoring rate in Scotland. We have made similar mistakes when recruiting strikers from Spain in recent seasons. For all our lack of financial clout, delivering in Scotland is not an easy task.
There is a whole world of potential issues around psychology, motivation and appetite, which I regularly hear cited about players from people in the game. For the most part, I reckon these are excuses to bridge the unexplained gap between expectation and outcome. You get the odd indulgent nutcase, but most players have an overwhelming sense of their need to maximise their commercial value by delivering on the park. I suspect Teemu is no different.
Whatever the reason behind him not fitting at Celtic, the exercise cost us not only the £1.5m net loss on transfer fees, and wages paid, but more importantly the failure to kick on from reaching the last 16 of the Champions League in season 2012-13.
There’s a truth in the game which has stood the test of time: only people who watch a player week-in-week-out know his true value. Schalke fans would have told us things about Teemu which we can tell others about John Guidetti. John will pick up a club keen to exploit his untapped potential. A year from now they will be a little wiser.
Our lesson: scouting is the only important part of recruitment, stats, references and YouTube clips don’t count.
Our friends at Magners have offered us two of the new Celtic away jerseys. It’s another fantastic offer from Celtic’s main sponsor, my thanks to them. In order to win, answer the following question:
Which team won this year’s Premiership Play-off final 6-1 on aggregate? Put the answer in the SUBJECT line of your email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Competition closes at midnight TONIGHT, so get busy, these are two great prizes and there’s less than a 12 hour window to win them.
And………….. while you’re entering, you might want to kick a pound or two towards our Marys’ Meals Malawi school kitchen appeal. Thank you.
And #2, if you enter, check your inbox for a response over the weekend. There’s a home shirt unclaimed from a similar competition last month!