Reports from the United States today suggest that the Darlington Nagbe deal is off.
If that’s true then it’s because Brendan Rodgers has decided that. Portland might be crying foul and claiming they are the ones who called it quits with negotiations but even that only reflects Brendan’s will in this matter. If he doesn’t think the deal suits us, then that’s it.
The suggestion – and it’s there, in subtle form in the press, that perhaps this is penny-pinching on the part of the club is nonsense. Brendan runs the show and he knows what money he has to spend. The player was at Celtic Park recently; all the pointers were towards a speedy resolution to this.
If this deal is now dead it’s got to be something that happened on Portland’s end.
Did they change the terms of this on us? Was there a last minute hitch?
Because surely this isn’t someone at Parkhead playing funny buggers. Surely this isn’t someone, someone whose job it is to get in the players the manager identifies – someone not paid to second guess that judgement – low-balling the offer?
Such a person can’t exist, because that person would be stupider than the average Sevco fan. To be playing games against the will of Brendan Rodgers, who has something like 1000% favourability rating amongst the fans? Only one winner there.
In this case, I don’t believe it at all. If reports from the US are to be believed Portland have been pretty emphatic in calling this off. They have said there were “multiple reasons” why they’ve refused Celtic’s offer, without actually stating what any of them were. This doesn’t suggest much room to manoeuvre; it suggests, in fact, that the clubs are miles apart. Not that it matters. Brendan will have been consulted at every step in the road and if we’ve made an offer which Portland are not prepared to negotiate on then we’ll pull the plug and move on.
I have no doubt that we have other options. We’ll proceed towards signing one of those and see what develops. Nagbe was impressed enough by Celtic Park and the club that he’s certainly sold on the move; let’s wait and see what time and circumstances bring us.
One erroneous report today suggested that Nagbe doesn’t fit our specific “type”, this “buy them young and sell them on” blueprint. In case the hack who wrote that nonsense hasn’t noticed this, only one of Brendan’s signings fitted that alleged template, and Moussa wasn’t signed as a development prospect but as a guy who could go straight into the starting line-up.
The old blueprint is done with. Brendan is only interested in signing players who can enhance the squad right now. He clearly believed the player could do that. He is reported to have two other players in mind though, and so far no names have leaked as to who.
Curiously, Celtic have continued to scout Portugal lately; we’ve watched Benfica four or five times in the last few months. Is that the location of our next signing?
There’s only a couple of weeks left to find out.