Olivier Ntcham, 21, yesterday became the third most expensive signing in Celtic history, the initial payment was slightly north of the £4.5m quoted, and there are add-ons which are likely to take the total price above that which was paid for Chris Sutton and John Hartson.
The most striking element of the deal is that the player has played only 39 games in senior football. Compare this to van Dijk and Wanyama, who had played over 60 games before coming to Celtic, and you get an idea of how the transfer market has changed in a few years.
60 games is now too late. You need to be on the ground watching and ready to move inside 40 games. More than this and top talent will likely already be competitively priced out of reach.
A consequence of this trend will be an increase in one element of the transfer risk: any scout would prefer to see more than 39 senior games before making a recommendation. But this risk is mitigated by the fact that waiting on a player to increase in value, only introduces the risks associated with paying a higher price.
Then there is the risk of doing nothing at all………
What we do know is that everyone at Celtic, the management, scouts and board, are happy to have secured Olivier’s signature.
Welcome to Celtic, Olivier.
You know when the PSNI say, “The only way you can have the game in Belfast that week is if it’s on Friday and there are no away supporters”. Then Linfield insist on having the home game first due to TV money. Then someone else at the PSNI says they did not block Celtic fans from attending?
Well, that just happened.
Here is the new CQN Podcast…