Today the media has linked yet another Celtic player with a move away in this window.
This one is something of a surprise, being that it’s Craig Gordon. And it wouldn’t just be any old move; if you believe the hacks he’s a target for the club currently sitting at the top of the EPL at the moment, making him the Celtic player with the highest profile transfer link of the window as yet … which is amazing considering the hype surrounding Moussa and Kieran.
On the surface of it, this one seems utterly ridiculous. Would Chelsea really want Gordon? Would Brendan be willing to let him leave? But actually, strip it down to its constituent parts and neither of those things is as barmy as it might at first seem. Chelsea needs a new keeper to back up Courtois, with Begovic about to leave for £10 million. If the price is right they see Gordon as a tailor made fit. He’s experienced, and all they want is someone short term.
It might be a harder deal to understand from the point of view of Celtic … except …
Except Gordon’s place was already under threat.
De Vries was brought in to provide not only competition, but actually, some think, to take his place in the team. The manager didn’t hide that; he sees Gordon as the better of the two – due to De Vries shaky start – but, like Chelsea, knows he’s not the long-term answer between the sticks.
If we were still in Europe I’d say no chance whatsoever that this deal could be done, but we’re not. We have two goalkeepers at the club right now, in De Vries and Logan Bailly, so we’d not been pressed into hitting the transfer market for a new one. Where the problem comes in is that these guys aren’t going to propel us forward in Europe, and it would be a risk buying a new keeper in the summer to throw him straight in at that deep end without giving him games to get familiar with the backline.
Sign someone now, and that problem is solved.
Oddly enough (or perhaps not) the chances are that it would come down to the player himself. If Celtic got an offer I think they may well accept it, but then it would up be up to Craig to make a decision on his future and I wonder if even the money on offer would sway him.
He would be giving up a starting place at a title contending team – one chasing a treble – to sit on the bench. He would also be taking a risk on the Champions League. If Chelsea gave him a two year deal that would be one thing, but at Celtic Park he’d be a stick on as things stand at the moment.
It’s a risk either way; if we bring in a keeper in the summer he may find himself doing that anyway.
I’d rather we kept the squad together at the moment; a move like this rocks the boat a wee bit more than I’d probably like, but if Brendan signed off on it then you’d have to conclude that it was part of the plan all along. It may well be.
This one is hard to dismiss. It might have legs.
It would be a surprise, yes, but certainly not a shock.