We’re almost back in the silly season, friends, and the headlines today prove it.
The closer we come to the last 30 days of the transfer window the more some people fret and flail.
The more some lose their minds completely.
Van Dijk continues to be the subject of intense speculation, as though English clubs lack either the money or the imagination to be looking somewhere else.
Do I think he’ll leave?
Before the window shuts, yes probably.
But I wonder if it’ll be to any of the teams the press keeps mentioning over and over again.
I had heard that the club and the player had an understanding that he would only ask to go – and only be allowed to go – if the club chasing him was a Champions League team or a potential one.
If this is accurate it reduces, significantly, the number of potential teams.
If it’s not accurate then I would wonder just what he would leave us for.
Playing in a better league worked out well for Gary Hooper, who ended up relegated.
Chasing the money is all well and good, if that’s what you’re in football for … but there is winning things too and that comes first for some players.
There’s playing for a club with a genuine European, a genuine global, name … not an artificially inflated one built on easy money.
Virgil seems built differently from that.
I actually don’t think he’ll agitate for a move if that’s what it comes to.
He’s a professional, and will stay the course until the right club comes along.
We can offer him trophies.
If we get to the Groups of the Champions League we can offer him that.
If he doesn’t want a move, if he’s not actively pressing for one, we have no reason to sell.
For all that, if a good offer comes in I think the board will accept it.
Whether the player would be willing to stay at Celtic Park or not, I think he’d be sold.
This is the reality of our club now.
If Larsson had signed during the years of The Strategy we’d have punted him for £5 million and not looked back.
Do I sound bitter?
Maybe a little, because I know that inevitably, on the day Van Dijk leaves, the press will run a ream of stories about Celtic being a selling club and I won’t be able to claim they are simply stirring the soup. There will be a core of truth in it.
Here’s what really bugs me about today’s reports, linking Virgil with a move to Everton.
They are based on nothing at all.
Martinez was, apparently, asked about Van Dijk and refused to comment.
Somehow, in the Scottish media, this is construed as confirmation of his interest, in much the same way, I guess, as confirmation of the fact that the Scotland v England game will be played at Hampden (which not a single soul in the country remotely doubted) is a “snub” to Celtic Park.
Our hacks really do know how to scrape the bottom of the barrel.
Like Ronny, like Neil, like Gordon and like Martin before him … I hate the transfer window.
If it’s not a list of players who are being linked with a move out of your club then it’s a whole host of them being linked with a move to your club, most of which are flights of fancy and never come to fruition.
Today’s story is about Michiel Kramer, a striker who plays for ADO Den Haag.
It seems that Celtic had representatives over there, watching him, at their most recent pre-season game, and on the surface of it he appears to tick a lot of boxes.
He’s big and tough and has good feet, but something makes me wonder.
He was due to win himself a big money move earlier in the summer, but it collapsed because the club couldn’t pay the fee.
The move was to the United Arab Emirates, graveyard of football ambitions where you only go for the money.
(A lot of money, mind you, but that’s beside the point.)
The club is obviously willing to part company with him.
The player is obviously willing to go.
If he was also happy to go off and play in the UAE league he’s not going to quibble about Scotland … but somehow I doubt this move has legs.
Which brings me to Scott Allan ….
This website has talked about Scott Allan before, back when rumours had him linked to a move to Celtic.
I said at the time I thought those stories were patently ridiculous, as our midfield is more than adequate and there would simply be no room for him in it.
He’s a decent footballer, but nowhere near the level required for the Celtic squad.
Allan appears set on a move to Sevco.
He’s a supporter of the club, and that must be a big pull for him.
Yet it didn’t stop him signing for Hibs in the first place, when the offer came to go to Ibrox last year.
I wonder, is he really buying into the whole Warburton revolution, or is he one of the King believers, supping on the Kool Aid?
I said on this site last month that I didn’t expect Scott Allan to be a Hibs player when the window closed, but that I didn’t expect him to be in Glasgow either.
I now do expect him to at Hibs for the season, because nothing else makes sense.
Stubbs has said he’s not for sale. Leanne Dempster has said he’s not for sale, and although the West of Scotland press is doing its level best to unsettle him, and force the club to back down I just don’t see how Hibs can sell their best footballer to their biggest rivals, especially following that defeat at the weekend.
All in all, it looks like being another one of those weeks.
God willing, we might even get our left back.