CHRIS SUTTON has savaged Filipe Jota’s proposed money-laden move from the champions to Saudia Arabia.

The Celtic fans’ favourite is about to quit the club after just two years, first on loan from Benfica and then as a £6.5million permanent signing by Ange Postecoglou.

But Jota is about to turn his back on the European big-time to join Al-Ittihad in the Middle East where he will disappear off the radar.

Former Hoops goal hero Sutton, who cost £6million when he left Chelsea for Parkhead in the summer of 2000, is convinced the Portuguese flyer is on the brink of blowing a fabulous career simply for cash.

MADRID MAGIC…Filipe Jota celebrates his wonder free-kick strike against the Spanish giants.

The one-time England international said: “There’s a scene that keeps coming back into my head right now. It’s of Jota scoring a superb free-kick against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and celebrating like he’d just won the World Cup.

“I found the reaction pretty embarrassing given the fact Celtic were 5-0 down at the time, but afterwards he talked about how special a moment it was for him producing a moment of magic like that in the Champions League against one of the greats.

“He should have had the head down while jogging back to the centre circle with the minimum of fuss. The point is, Jota seemed to be piling it because of where it was and the stage it was on.

“But if this deal to Al-Ittihad goes through he’d be throwing all prospect of more of that kind of experience straight into the bin.

“Let’s not sugarcoat it here. If he moves to Saudi Arabia, spare us any talk it’s for footballing reasons. It will be for cold hard cash. Nothing more. Listen, I get how his head could be turned. The numbers being quoted are unbelievable, with talk of up to £10million a year.

“It’s a heck of a lot of money – but at what cost? Jota is 24 years old and not even in his prime yet. It was a similar story with Ruben Neves leaving Wolves for the Gulf State at 26. These guys are going into semi-retirement before they have even made a proper impact at the top level. It’s such a waste.”

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “I know people are going to say Scottish football isn’t exactly the best league in the world, but it’s still got history, heritage and it gives a platform to play in the Champions League.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Chris Sutton and Henrik Larsson enjoy another Celtic goal.

“People might point to me moving to Scotland. That was completely different. I knew Celtic were a huge club with big ambitions. I knew it would give me a big stage and the chance to play in Europe.

“Celtic had players like Henrik Larsson, Rangers had the De Boers and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, while Martin O’Neill was one of the most respected managers in the UK at that time.

“It was an exciting time, it wasn’t a big money home for stars on the slide. I wasn’t offered the kinds of sums Jota and others are being offered, but I did turn down a few chances to go to far flung places for more cash.

“I wasn’t interested. Scottish football has its critics, but I knew I was playing for a top club and competing with the best every year. As for the Saudi Pro League? Yes, there are some big names who are going there, but you can’t tell me the overall standard is great.

“Jota seems to like the limelight, he loves the social media poses and so on. If he goes there he will be forgotten about.

“He will also be jeopardising his status with his national team. This is a player who wasn’t too far off making the Portugal World Cup squad. If he makes this move he might as well give up on that dream.

“I know there are younger players going there now, but it’s still a place to go to top up the pension.

FANFARE…Filipe Jota celebrates his goal in Celtic’s 3-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Inverness Caley Thistle.

“Guys like Karim Benzema can make astronomical amounts of money at a time when they might feel their bodies are starting to struggle. If Aaron Mooy was choosing to go there rather than hanging up his boots, then you’d say fair enough. He tried that in China, though, and he didn’t fancy it, but you can see why ageing players would be tempted.

“It’s a different story for the ones in their prime. The fear is there’s more to come. The Saudis going big is definitely a worry in the grand scheme of things. We’ve seen it with their buying of Newcastle United and now the league is ramping it up.”

Sutton went on: “I just wonder how many cars does someone need? How many houses? Would you be sitting in your mansion at 40 regretting turning your back on a career at the top level?

“Only the players involved will be able to say. I’d be willing to bet Jota could be sitting on his pile of money in six months’ time feeling pretty miserable.

“If Jota was moving to the Premier League or Bundesliga, I don’t think that would stick in the throat so much. After all, that is Celtic’s model and you can’t complain too much when the big bids come in.

THE FINAL GOAL…Filipe Jota fires in No.3 in the Cup Final win – could it be his last Celtic strike?

“Jota’s destination is the most disappointing thing – and there’s no doubt it’s a huge blow to Celtic and to Brendan Rodgers. This is Celtic’s most creative player. He brings something different to the side and he turns up in the big games.

“He’s been a terrific signing and even if they do get top dollar, he’s going to be extremely difficult to replace.”

Rodgers has added Australian World Cup squad winger Marco Tilio to his squad following the 21-year-old forward’s £1.5million arrival from Melbourne City while he already has Liel Abada, Daizen Maeda and Sead Haksabanovic on the books plus Mikey Johnston’s loan spell in Portugal is now over.

Sutton added: “Celtic fans will find new heroes, but I find it sad when Jota could be running out at the Nou Camp or the Bernabeu instead he’ll be counting his cash in the desert.”

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