Today there’s a Celtic transfer story doing the rounds. But for once this isn’t about players at our club being linked with a move elsewhere. No, in a highly original move some of the usual sites are writing about a player we’re actually linked with signing.
On one level, these stories appear grounded in some form of reality.
The guy we’re allegedly looking at is former Motherwell player Marvin Johnson. This makes sense on a number of levels; he’s a player our scouts will know about, he’s at the right age that he’s nowhere near his peak and as people who’ve watched him know, he’s got some skills.
But is this really the quality Brendan thinks can take us to the next level? He’s plying his trade at Oxford United right now; no harm to them, but neither their weekly opposition nor, indeed, Motherwell’s are exactly going to prepare him for Champions League qualifiers.
Some of the reports have described him as a full-back, which apparently is where he’s playing now, but at Motherwell he featured as a winger. The problem is (one of the problems) he plays on the left; do you see him supplanting Scott Sinclair for the wing spot anytime soon? Me neither.
Do you see him replacing Kieran Tierney? No, me neither.
Some of the hype in the articles features on the hysterical and if this guy were linked with Sevco I would be writing articles on how off-the-wall it all is. I see no reason to gild the lily just because it’s us; the notion that this guy is being “monitored by Manchester City” is flatly absurd.
Who’s he going to replace there? Patrick Roberts?
To call this “paper talk” would be doing it more credit than it deserves, unless the paper we’re talking about is the kind you find on a roller in the toilet. It was, of course, The Daily Record which ran with this story today. Every other outlet has simply followed their lazy lead. It appears to be connected to a rash of new tales about Kieran Tierney.
Today it’s the turn of Manchester United to be interested in signing him, although there’s no evidence that these stories have an iota of truth attached to them.
As I said yesterday, what our club needs to do is get a solid commitment from every member of the first team squad that all intend to see out the next campaign with us. Put that information out on the official site, not through the media. Then we can readily, and easily, dismiss all these idiotic transfer stories as being just that.
Would we really want to sign Marvin Johnson? At who’s expense?
If we lost Kieran Tierney for him I’d think most Celtic fans would be pulling their hair out. If we dropped Scott Sinclair for him I’d think most of us would be shocked. Is he even good enough to be a squad player? If he was, I’d suggest that we’d have signed him before Oxford did.
This one seems like a complete non-story … and it comes on the same day as ex-Liverpool player Paul Walsh has talked some of the worst garbage I’ve heard on Brendan Rodgers yet.
Not only has Brendan “only achieved what was expected of him” – did any of you expect a domestic campaign unbeaten to this point, on top of Champions League qualification and two matches unbeaten against Manchester City? – but to cap it Walsh claims he won’t go on to leave for a top six club in the EPL “because after you’ve been at Liverpool no-one else wants you.”
Or so he claims.
Manchester United and Everton “wouldn’t touch you” because of the rivalry, but neither, apparently, would Manchester City although the reason isn’t explained. Which leaves Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, and no explanation as to why they wouldn’t either.
Does any of this matter to Celtic fans, except insofar as if Brendan isn’t wanted by one of those clubs that a move anywhere else would be a step down? Brendan may well fancy one of the EPL top jobs one day, but let’s face it, he’s not leaving Celtic Park for Southampton or West Ham. Aside from that, I’m just not sure why any Celtic fan would care what Walsh thinks, or why The Daily Record bothered to publish his daft opinion.
The Record is good at this, in subtly suggesting that Brendan isn’t as highly rated south of the border as some of us seem to think. You know what? I don’t care whether he is or whether he isn’t. Most of the chairmen in that league wouldn’t know managerial talent if Bill Shankly were alive, in his prime and banging on their windows.
That league seems obsessed with passing off second-rate junk as the real thing. It’s how guys like Allardyce, Pardew, Steve Bruce, Ian Dowie and others can find employment there again and again and again, to no impact whatsoever.
I’ve thought since Brendan signed that Liverpool’s loss is our gain; I see no sign that Jürgen Klopp stands to achieve anything Brendan didn’t or couldn’t have had he been given more time there. The way Brendan’s time at Anfield is referred to as if it was a disaster is ridiculous. He took them closer to the Premier League title than they’ve been since Michael Thomas’ late winner took the league flag back in 1989.
(Thomas, of course, went on to play for Liverpool next, as Scott McDonald went on to play for us. If English football really is the parochial wee universe Paul Walsh thinks it is then it’s in a worse place than we realised. When you see the number of players to play for Celtic and Rangers you marvel at how the rest of the world can cling to such stupidity.)
In addition to this, Charlie Nicholas is comparing the O’Neill team and Brendan’s side today and saying there’s no real comparison because the quality of this team is poorer, as if we need reminding that there’s no Henrik in this team, no Sutton in this team, no Lubo in this team.
But nor is there a McNeill or Johnstone or Lennox either.
What this team does have is Sinclair, Armstrong, Tierney, Griffiths, Gordon and Dembele. I would stipulate that every single one of them would have had a chance of starting in Martin’s team and all would have been more than just mere squad players.
Thus Nicholas’ point is equally invalid.
This stuff gets tiresome.
These guys just can’t give our manager credit.