Over the last week, you might have noticed a couple of stories in the media relating to players we’ve been scouting, or even trying to sign.
Tonight was the latest; Ola Aina, a Chelsea youth player, who we pulled out of a bid to sign on freedom of contract because of his wage demands.
Aina is a right back.
I’m not embarrassed to say I’ve never heard of him in my life.
A product of the Chelsea Youth Academy he may be, but this reeks of “project” signing, and hot on the heels of last week’s revelation that we’d sent scouts to watch Tino-Sven Susic, a Bosnian midfielder playing in France, it makes me wonder what the Hell is going on?
First up, another midfielder? Surely not.
But this isn’t speculation; a Celtic scout actually went and looked at this guy.
Two national newspapers reported the story, and this after the club had confirmed that Deila was leaving.
Is this another sign that signing policy is handled independent of the manager’s office?
How many Celtic bosses have been blamed for signing duds in the past few years? Are we to assume that none of them were actually responsible? Who’s ordering these little scouting expeditions? Who’s actually authorising or taking part in contract negotiations with new players?
Why is all this going on at a time when one manager is preparing to depart and the hunt is supposed to be ongoing for who comes in?
Is this Lawwell? Is it Parks?
Or is a new boss already in place, un-named to the fans, dictating things behind the scenes?
That seems unlikely.
As criticism continues to mount, Celtic fans would welcome some good news, so it makes no sense to holding off on naming someone if that decision has already been made. In the absence of that, what are we to conclude about this? That no lessons have been learned. That things at Celtic Park appear – at the moment anyway – to be continuing as before, with some part of the football operations side doing its own thing, regardless.
When I read the story about Tino-Sven Susic I was initially happy to put that down to the scouts simply putting together a list of options for the new boss, although it’s absolutely ridiculous to think an attacking midfielder would be on his list of positions needing filled.
But today’s story about Aina suggests different, and there is precedent for this of course.
Two years ago we signed Craig Gordon without a manager; at the very press conference were Deila was unveiled he was told we were bringing the keeper in on a free.
That, of course, was also a way of telling the manager that he would, very soon, be without the services of Fraser Forster.
It’s time the fans got some clarity on just who runs signing policy at Celtic.
So much of what we’ve seen in the last two or three years makes no sense at all.
The scouting system should serve the needs of the manager.
Signings should be made to develop the squad.
At Parkhead all this has been turned on its head.
It’s the first thing a new boss has to sort out.
If he stamps his authority on this area of football operations, his chances of being a success increase accordingly.
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