Signing young players on loan has worked well for Celtic in the recent past: Patrick Roberts and Odsonne Edouard, being good examples. While others, like Charly Musonda, failed to make the grade. Musonda had talent (you remember that chip against Zenit), but he never looked up to the physical challenges of the professional game.
When Celtic sign the likes of Timothy Weah on a short-term loan, our initial thought is, “Where is this relationship going?” Will the loan be extended, as it was for Roberts, or end in a purchase, as it did for Edouard, or will this be a one-off gig?
Weah appears to have abundant talent but his chances of breakthrough at PSG are limited. Mbappe, Neymar and Cavani head an illustrious list of strikers at a club always looking to add to their squad. It is more likely that the Paris club will look to build Weah’s value at Celtic in the hope of earning an inflated transfer fee. This practice is how all tier-one clubs operate and underpins their Financial Fair Play credentials.
It is important for Celtic to build a squad – to manage our assets. The try before you buy model, used effectively with Edouard, works well in this regard. Building relationships with PSG or Man City, who know their players can gain necessary experience and appreciate in value, means we remain a valuable option for future deals.
But we also need to win football games, irrespective of more strategic concerns, even if there is no long-term relationship with the player. Sometimes it is OK for a relationship not to last beyond the summer.
Welcome to Celtic, Timothy.