Stephen Welsh’s breakthrough season at Celtic came in 2020-21 as defence and goalkeeper position fragmented. He started in several of Ange Postecoglou’s first line-ups and was trusted to partner Carl Starfelt for a trip to Ibrox but a costly mistake at Livingston saw him drop down the pecking order.
At 23, he is just seven months older than Alexandro Bernabei, still considered young with room for development, but it is unlikely to happen at Celtic. He has not made an appearance since October, though made it onto the bench five times in the closing months of the season.
It is no surprise there is interest in the player from Italy, where several of his peer group have excelled, but quoted the £3m price spot is noteworthy. This is not far from the price we paid for Alistair Johnston, fresh from the World Cup and already a stalwart in the Celtic defence.
It remains to be seen what happens to Stephen. If we are able to sell a player on the very fringe of the squad for a fee like this, it is a clear indication that the value attributed to a player simply by being at Celtic has increased. We have seen this phenomenon at top English clubs for years. They acquire huge squads, mostly loaned out for a healthy fee, before being sold at a premium as, for example, a Chelsea player.
It would also not escape your attention that if we sell reserves for £3m, maybe we can aim a little higher when signing first team players.