BRENDAN RODGERS has revealed his concerns of a transfer raid on Celtic – AFTER the UK deadline has passed at midnight on August 31.
The Hoops boss mirrored the fears of Celtic book author Alex Gordon in his EXCLUSIVE CQN column yesterday.
Rodgers admitted it would not be easy for the champions to reject a similar offer as the £25million bid that whisked fans’ favourite Filipe Jota from the east end of Glasgow to the Gulf State last month.
And such an identical situation would leave the Parkhead gaffer without the opportunity to replace any transferred player.
CUP THAT CHEERS…Filipe Jota proudly holds the Scottish Cup after Celtic’s 3-1 win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Hampden on June 3.
GETTING SHIRTY…Filipe Jota holds the Ittihad club jersey after his £25million move on July 4.
The Middle East transfer window is scheduled to close on September 20 – three weeks after the UK cut-off point which is in line with most of Europe’s top-flight set-ups.
That leaves an interval where the Saudis can splash millions to lure top stars to their Pro League.
Quizzed if his club were in a position to knock back a multi-million deal for one of his squad, Rodgers answered: “That is difficult to say. It is nothing to do with Celtic, really. A club from Saudi could come in and offer a life-changing deal to a player.
“You can decide to keep the player, but you might not have the same player. So, there is all that type of thing you always have to weigh up.
“I think every manager would want it [the transfer window]to finish whenever the first games start. But it doesn’t, so we live with it and will have to deal with whatever comes our way.”
Megastar Cristiano Ronaldo, at the age of 38, set the ball rolling with his switch from Manchester United to Al-Nassr where he picks up a mindboggling £3.5million per WEEK, a move which makes him the highest-paid athlete in the world.
Rodgers also reckons the signing of England international Jordan Henderson is another signal of intent, another worrying aspect flagged up by CQN.
The second time-around Hoops boss, speaking to the Daily Record, commented: “In terms of profile, if you are taking the current Liverpool captain to Saudi Arabia, I would say it’s a big deal.”
Rodgers admitted he was approached to manage in Saudi after he left Leicester City in April. He added: “I’d two really long meetings with a team out there.
CONCERNED…Brendan Rodgers is aware of late Saudi bids for his stars.
“There are two items there that are dangerous – if you have a plan and money and they want the game to grow then it can be a challenge.
“It is interesting. You see the number of top players who have gone out there. From a financial perspective, of course, it was interesting.
“Out of respect, I spoke to them and I spoke to them again and analysed some stuff. But my whole mindset still at that point was to have the time out.
“It was obviously only after that, that I spoke to Celtic.”
Rodgers had a quickfire change of plans to return to his boyhood heroes where he acknowledged he had “some unfinished business” following his abrupt departure in February 2019 after winning seven successive trophies after his arrival in May 2016.
The Irishman, 50, signed a three-year deal and will be in the dug-out at Pittodrie at noon today for the treble winners’ second Premiership match of the new season.
*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Aberdeen v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.