Playing hardball with the want aways


I heard earlier this transfer window that the club didn’t expect an offer for Moussa Dembele.  There was interest a year ago, but a year of injury, then a fresh injury at the start of this season, convinced all that the player would be with us until January, at least.

When Real Madrid invoked a buy-out clause for Lyon striker Mariano on Wednesday, the French club were prepared to throw a lot of money around to buy a replacement, and their primary target was Moussa Dembele.

There are millions of euros at play here.  Agent fees alone would be in seven figures, while the contract available for the player would dwarf anything Celtic pay.  In addition, they were prepare to offer Celtic a lot of money.  So what do you do?

Celtic were not planning to sell Moussa Dembele, just as they were not planning to sell Kieran Tierney in July.  The club gave very clear messages to Lyon that they would not entertain a bid.  Note Lyon president, Jean-Michel Aulas’ comments “I know the boss at Celtic well. He is basically like a bulldog who negotiates after yapping.”

The assumption in Lyon was that after Peter Lawwell’s “yapping” there would be some negotiation.  Lyon expected Celtic to roll over, but Celtic did not bite.

The choice was to pocket the money without buying a direct replacement (as it was too late), or reject the offer.  The sale was not even considered, by the manager or board.  As we saw three weeks ago with Boyata, Celtic do not need the money, what they need is talented footballers.

It was right to reject the offer.  Not just because we need players more than money, but because if we fold under player pressure, we will only encourage more ‘sore back/not the right frame of mind’ scenarios when contracted players are tapped up during a qualification campaign.

The football business is incredibly unstable.  We contract players, who, if they succeed, will soon be able to earn millions of pounds per year more than we will ever pay them.  You either sell when the big offers come, or turn your face to stone and sell when you are ready.

I don’t know if playing hardball this month will stop this happening again, but folding would guarantee tantrums every time a player receives an 80€/week offer.  We could be sitting this morning with all the money in the world, but a little light up front.  That’s not the plan and never has been.

The first piece of business today was the signing of central mid, Youssouf Mulumbu.  Youssouf’s career came off the rails when he broke his metatarsal weeks after joining Norwich three years ago, but a cameo half season at Kilmarnock convinced Brendan Rodgers to move. Welcome to Celtic, Youssouf.

Let’s get Filip Benkovic signed up, and spank Newco back into their dystopian existence on Sunday.  Oh, and Malmo and Sarpsborg would do nicely in the Europa.

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  1. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Malumbu said in his interview that his agent told him of Celtic’s interest two weeks ago, told him to keep himself fit.







    He had been playing in France’s second division since May.







    He finished by saying that he would now.Never walk alone

  2. Beamishismypint on

    Can anyone remind me when we strengthen for next season’s Champions League Qualifiers?

  3. Question, why was Moussa allowed to talk to Lyon and agree terms if we were not entertaining a bid? Or, if we didn’t allow him to talk to Lyon, did they illegally negotiate with him?

  4. The Glorious Balance Sheet – (regarding Shankland) you might be right. I was thinking he maybe just took time to knuckle down and live up to his early potential. I don’t think there is a huge gulf between Ayr and the lower half of the SPFL which made me think he could probably do a job for the likes of Dundee, Motherwell, Livingston etc.



    Not suggesting he is a replacement for MD by the way, I am just curious as to why he didn’t get a move to the Premier League in the summer. Not often someone bags that many goals and doesn’t get snapped up.

  5. Wow!!! Just wow!!!



    I hope this all plays out this way. What an unexpected and extremely pleasant turnaround.



    First I’ve got up with anything since the game last night… Brilliant, just brilliant news to read.



    Hail Hail ? ? ☘

  6. See, once again this site decides on Lazy Journalism and offers us only one half of the narrative.



    If the club had no intention of selling the player – if the position was that he wasn’t for sale and we weren’t even going to entertain an offer – then exactly what was the point in allowing his agents and Lyon to talk until they agreed terms on a contract? Is it normal to let your player go away and find out what’s on offer elsewhere if he’s not going to be allowed to make the move?



    I am pissed at Dembele for his public display of disloyalty, but I cannot ignore that he had good reasons to believe that he was going to be allowed to move.



    if Dembele’s people were talking to Lyon they did it with Celtic’s permission. The club chairman over there called it a “negotiation”; he didn’t say we’d flatly turned them down; what was there to negotiate? This whole thing stinks to high heaven, and I had a feeling that we’d get a cheap transfer, a loanee, and then some flannel about how we held firm and kept our players.



    The mention of Kieran Tierney has not gone un-noticed either.



    What exactly is the purpose of these kind of comments? To flag up the prospect of losing every player of value in the first team come January ?



    I am resigned to certain things now, and one of them is that we’ll be rebuilding this entire club come the summer, with Dembele gone, Ntcham gone, Tierney gone and the manager gone.



    I sincerely hope others go too.



    But I have feeling they’ll literally be the last to leave, and probably after 10 in a row has been pissed away.


    The Negster has been right this week (actually for a wee while).



    Celtic have failed in their stated policy of improving the team. How much has actually been spent ?



    So much so the manager has purposefully provided some unguarded comments to the press. Primarily about his “conditions” of working. It’s easy to hear a marker being laid.



    Pedro & co. do the donkey work, i.e. the football side of things has to be paid for. Something most fans don’t even consider.



    You”ll see proof of that last point every day on here when the calculations of income are totted up.

  8. The Battered Bunnet on

    Gorra love Wikipedia:



    “Filip ‘The Fenian’ Benković (born 13 July 1997) is a Croatian footballer who plays as a centre-back for Premier League club Leicester City.[“

  9. AULDHEID on 31ST AUGUST 2018 12:17 PM



    Its interesting that in the day of player power a manager is reminding his players that they signed contracts that he expects to be honoured. This piece from a couple of years back is about player power.



    The shirt no longer has the power it once had.



    Evolution Soccer – Revolution Soccer.



    “The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football, that’s how I see life.” Bill Shankley. Liverpool FC.



    Football has experienced a curious phenomenon over the last ten years. Neither the fans nor the clubs can be considered the owners of the game. If we define ownership as the ability to dictate terms then it becomes self evident. The world’s best players and those who hang on to their coat tails now run the show and it filters down to the lower levels. These people are football’s new owners.



    How has this happened for it would be impossible in normal business? It happened because the player’s paymasters, the support, set no price on their desire for glory and success. The paymasters have become the slaves of glory and football is paying the ultimate cost.



    Along with the desire for glory at any price is the working man’s thinking that a player, like any working man, has the right to negotiate as high a reward for his labour as he can. As a left leaning Glaswegian who has had to strike for improved conditions in normal business, I subscribe to that notion and paid my dues to defend that right. However football is not like normal business. In normal business if a worker negotiates a wage that makes the company uncompetitive because the rise exceeds the income it will generate, that company will eventually go out of business. Thus a reality wage ceiling is in place. This is a good thing because it means the company can continue to offer employment to all its workers and continue to serve its customers.



    However in recent football history the influx of TV and sugar daddy money has enabled a wage to be offered that goes way beyond the business’s ability to sustain, but unlike normal business, clubs do not, by and large, go out of business. They find ways of reforming and carry on, but at a cost to those players not in the top earning bracket, or to the workers in companies who served them. It has meant smaller squads, fewer players able to earn.



    It is a curious socialist philosophy that supports a player’s right to get as much as he can from the game, but ignores the consequences for his fellow players/workers without whom there would be no game.



    A good analogy is in order here. Modern football is like a description of a scene from hell where a visitor looks into one room and sees an emaciated group around a table on which is set a large pot full of stew. They cannot eat because their arms have been set straight at the elbow and elongated so that they cannot get a spoon in their mouths. It is a miserable place. Then the visitor goes upstairs and enters a similar room with occupants similarly handicapped, but where everyone is well fed and contented. “How can this be?” he asks his guide. “Well downstairs all their energies are spent in the nigh impossible task of feeding their insatiable hunger, whilst up here they simply feed each other.”



    The thankless job of managing the downstairs room falls to the custodians of clubs, but their hands are tied by the players’ real paymasters, the support, demanding the custodians throw more food into the room, rather than teach the occupants the benefit of feeding each other for the good of all.



    Not all players and agents are greedy men, John Kennedy’s magnificent gesture to give his testimonial money to famine relief is a demonstration of this, and there are other players who also carry out charitable acts. However, overall, it is players who exploit the support using the support’s desire for success to demand from custodians wages that starve lower reaches of the game. There is more than enough finance to satisfy both players and supporters needs, it just needs to be distributed more equitably.



    Hopefully this phenomenon will end when the unconscious paymasters – the support, who should be the owners, waken up and realise that they are being exploited, not by the custodians of clubs, but by their fellow workers the players. When this realisation finally dawns about who currently owns football a consensual wage ceiling might emerge to allow football to again become the people’s game. There is no natural ceiling to ensure wealth generation is preserved or that the wealth created is more fairly distributed.



    One must be created.



    At some point the age old class struggle of exploited worker versus owner will be repeated, except the battle will be between a more aware and responsible support and the new owners of soccer, the players.



    These are not to be confused with the players of the past, fellow workers of their time exploited by then club owners. Players like Bobby Evans, Willie Fernie, Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Murdoch etc. These guys and their fellow professionals were working men all their playing lives.







    Those days, however, have gone.

  10. Why do people keep talking about 10 in a row???



    What happened to 8 & 9 or did we already win them…



    Therein lies the root of some discontent, this ten in a row bollocks..

  11. But there’s a schism between the board and the manager ??



    We must choose one. We must fire the other.



    The relentless, monotonous pish has been pedalled by a gleeful MSM, bloggers needing site hits for their pop-up advertising boards and a those with an agenda for splitting the club.



    We’ve had a poor window, we’ve gone public with our frustrations and made a rod for our own back. Let’s hope this stand against player power works for the Club.

  12. AULDHEID on 31ST AUGUST 2018 12:04 PM



    When I saw Mulumbu walk all over our midfield last season I thought I’d like him in the Hoops.



    I had the same thoughts when I watched Scott Brown and Neil Lennon dominate mid field when they were with Hibs and Leicester.



    See this Football Manager? Pimps.

  13. James



    Did we allow him to talk to Lyon and agree terms ?






    Is that MSM pish that becomes truth after it’s repeated a few times ?



    Like Paul67 (proving my sheep credentials) I didn’t expect a bid given another injury in early / pre-season and how the EPL window closed without a bid.

  14. What is the Stars on

    BIg Wavy



    Spot on



    And still the clowns come on here saying ….Well if they dont go now they will go in January or next summer and we will have to build a new team

  15. Paul



    “We could be sitting this morning with all the money in the world, but a little light up front That’s not the plan and never has been.”



    Substitute “up front” with “at the back”



    Was this the plan?

  16. What is the Stars on




    calm down



    Your moniker is 17.


    Thoms reference to turning 18 was just a light hearted dig


    Serioulsy I know Thom..He is a decent man,not one for childish insults.

  17. Starry Plough


    Exactly! We are going for 8 in a row. The level of entitlement from some has now reached fever pitch.




    Exactly the thought I just had mate.






    To that I can only say that if this lead article is correct and if this has all been done without Celtic’s authorisation that I look forward to our club submitting a formal complaint to UEFA against Lyon for tapping. Because it’s as clear-cut a case as you could get.



    Even their chairman’s comments are scandalous if we weren’t willing to do business.



    But of course there will be no such complaint and I can guess why.

  19. I am unsurprised you have formed this opinion Paul but the flip side to this is that we have two players who want to play elsewhere – now. Boyata has already been “unavailable” and so who is to say he and Moussa are “unavailable” on Sunday or for weeks after?



    We don’t live in an ideal world and so we would be better to let both go. Moussa has reacted angrily much to the shock of most of us and so you have to think that “promises” were made. I certainly do.



    I appreciate the timing is poor but we spent months last season with two strikers available and so I don’t see the problem with doing it again – albeit it is not ideal.



    The club has gone through a Summer of frustration and anger and the negativity is rife. I for one have lost hours of sleep.



    If we got rid of them today we would be worse off on the field but the positivity could return throughout the squad and the club.



    The lack of planning from the Board is coming homt to roost but we can’t change the habits of the Celtic board.



    Cleanse the club of those that don’t want to be there, plan, scout and try and genuinely improve the squad.



    Time to move on from what has been a shambles of a summer.

  20. RB Leipzig go into Group B with Celtic and Salzburg?



    Err that is Red Bull Salzburg and Red Bull Leipzig? Same owners Reb Bull GmbH?



    Some conflicts of interest here surely?

  21. LOL, of course Rosenborg…of course.



    You couldn’t make it up. Two teams owned by the same parent group and a team we have already played in Europe this season.



    It’s actually not a bad group to be honest.

  22. James



    Very few clubs do anything about ‘tapping up’ as it’s pretty hard to prove. An agent, without an audit trail, will know what they can offer in wages but nothing written down. Likewise there will be nothing to suggest he’s undergone a formal medical. It’s all the dance that is going on.



    Like Paul67’s article the club are saying you can pedal agreed deals and imaginery medicals and use the french media to show it’s moving along but at the end of the day ‘feck off, he’s not for sale Lyon’….



    Let’s see come mindnight where we are but with 2 years to run we hold the cards (petted lip from player aside)….

  23. 50 SHADES OF GREEN on 31ST AUGUST 2018 12:39 PM



    We CAN wi that group with a big effort and a wee bit of luck!




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