In the dark days of late August, with various players looking for an exit from the club, some at Celtic Park concluded that for all the success of our strategy to scout young European youth internationals who were still below radar, none of them would sign an extended contract after their credentials were established at Celtic. This assessment included Olivier Ntcham.
The club set its face to stone regarding Moussa Dembele but Brendan Rodgers was so incensed by the player on deadline day that he was told to empty his locker. Dedryck Boyata was denied a move to England, but while the Belgium international remains in the final year of his contract, Olivier surprised me by signing a new four-year deal. Something has changed.
While there is nothing inherently wrong in selling players for large transfer fees, selling too many, too quickly, puts pressure on clubs, who will struggle to recruit appropriately experienced replacements to order.
It is good news that Olivier extended his stay. It confirms he is happy at Celtic, that we can afford competitive wages, and that he has faith in the manager and direction of travel at the club. His continuing stay will also encourage others to come to Glasgow.
Ryan Christie, who signed a new contract yesterday, has every bit as much potential as Olivier. He has had the most thrilling three weeks of his career. A year ago, I was told by someone inside Celtic Park he had the potential to go far, which I dismissed on the spot. It took patience and hard work, but he got there.