Celtic today announced that Craig Gordon has signed a brand new deal, committing his future to this club for the next three years. That surprises me somewhat; I thought the manager may well decide there were better options out there, and go for one of them in the summer.
Nevertheless, I think this is a wholly positive step. Continuity is good for our club.
Gordon, like other players in this team, has grown over the past year. I think it was pretty obvious that the manager didn’t fancy him at the start, and the purchase of Doris De Vries was about putting him on notice that he had to work harder and perform better in the team. What a credit to Craig that he’s convinced the boss to the extent where he’s turned down a big offer from Chelsea and given our goalkeeper an improved deal.
That speaks to what I said yesterday, about top managers being able to improve those players who were already at their clubs. It is hugely significant that Celtic have a man at the helm who is able to bring players on, to make them into stars. It will be standing us in good stead for many years to come, as the likes of Simunovic and Rogic and others will only get better and their value increase for a time when they or we might want to move on.
All the signs are good at Celtic right now; we are making progress on and off the pitch in a way I’ve not seen in many, many years, if ever. Can you ever recall a time when the club was so driven, so forward thinking, so busy with little schemes and plans?
Today Phil published a piece on that forward thinking and something in it piqued my interest, because it gels nicely with stuff I’ve been hearing myself. Celtic have approached Manchester City about the chances of keeping Patrick Roberts; that much is a well-known fact.
Until lately, we were being rebuffed on that score, but this season hasn’t exactly gone as planned for Guardiola’s club and they are about to embark on a summer splurge that their owners hope will turn them into one a genuine Champions League contender.
It will cost a hundred million or more.
These people have the money; they don’t shy away from spending it.
Which leaves the club in something of a quandary.
Because there is no way – with all respect to him – that Roberts will get in the team they are trying to build for the next campaign. He’s not there yet, not at that level. City are talking to a lot of clubs about their young players right now, but let’s just say that they are quietly impressed with the way Celtic is developing the Rodgers Plan and they are aware of the improvement in many members of the first team squad. They think Patrick is one of them.
In other words, they know their English asset is in good hands.
My information is that they have approached Celtic and actually asked if there’s a deal to be done on Patrick staying another year, which of course the club is pretty happy to accept. But City have a long term decision to make on this kid as well; do they see him as a future first team player?
The media goes out of its way to tell us that he cost them tens of millions; actually, he didn’t.
This is one of the fallacy’s the media likes to promote, a bit like the idea that sacking Brendan cost Liverpool £15 million.
Aye, he did, but only if you are using the same calculator these people tote up their monthly expenses on.
The English media says “in the region of £12 million.” The Guardian – who are most trustworthy on football stories (Res 12 notwithstanding) than any other outlet – says £11 million. But they have the breakdown which the Scottish media consistently ignores.
Roberts cost City £5 million plus an add-ons which would be worth £12 million over the course of his deal.
That’s now unlikely, as he’s spent 18 months of his initial contract out on loan. At £5 million we could afford to buy him, but then most of English football would be interested at that price and it would create a bit of difficulty for us.
Here’s the thing; other young English players have suffered fates like this, including Scott Sinclair. They bounce around as loanees for years before the clubs that signed them decide to part company with them. It would be dreadful if it happened here.
I think Roberts is an exceptional talent, with more potential than Scott Sinclair.
If City were willing to sell him they’d be happier seeing him go to us than coming up against them in the league at some stage. One Champions League goal against them is enough for the moment; they surely don’t want to be facing him twice as a season with titles on the line.
In those circumstances it’s up to the player himself where he wants to go and what he wants to do. We don’t need to sell Patrick Roberts on Celtic; that’s already sold. He knows what we’re all about, and if he starts on Sunday I predict he’ll give their defence the most torrid time imaginable and further cement his status with our fans.
Getting this kid for another year would be the transfer coup of the summer, and no mistake, regardless of who else we’re looking to bring in. It looked unlikely in January when Brendan opened talks about it. It’s no longer so fantastical. City’s management team are laying their plans for the next 12 months and Patrick is not part of them.
Another loan deal would benefit everyone, and they believe Celtic has been good for him.
Another Group Stage run means he tests himself against the very best, and they are perfectly content for that to be the case.
I hear that the likelyhood of this is around 70/30 in our favour.
This one is worth keeping an eye on.