Paul67 at CQN has said that he’s been told we’re now almost certainly out of the running in the race to sign Patrick Roberts.
Paul’s sources at the club are impeccable.
Although there’s a lot of rumour and counter-rumour out there I’m minded to throw in the towel and say this one is over.
He hedges, slightly, but I think we can take that to the bank as his way of saying “not in this lifetime.”
Celtic has done everything it can here; no blame is apportioned to anyone.
We had good reasons to believe we could get this deal over the line.
City were being cool in the negotiations and everything looked as if it was approaching a satisfactory conclusion. We have worked hard on this. The club, the manager, everyone. There will be a lot of people very frustrated that this hasn’t come off.
But it was clear from earlier this week that this was in danger of becoming an auction.
If, as looks likely, that’s what’s happened we’ve been priced out of it, that’s the simple truth. The Daily Record says Roberts will be “given a chance to stake his claim” for a spot at City, but the club itself has already made it known that he’ll be allowed to leave if the price is right.
Anyway, what if he does go to the States with them and he dazzles Guardiola? What does that mean for us? That we wait? We can’t afford to wait. We have our own project here, we need to focus on that above and beyond anything else.
City, as expected, are involved in a major rebuilding job.
They’ve already brought in over £20 million from sales this summer, and want more. They’re spending a fortune, but the books have to balance. If they want an excessive fee there’s not a lot Celtic can do about it and that was always a possibility. Patrick is rated. He is sought-after. We knew that.
To sign him at the current terms would have meant spending the whole of the transfer budget.
No one player can possibly justify that, not for any club.
To say it’s disappointing is an understatement.
But it’s not crushing.
If this is true, and I suspect it probably is, as I said Paul67 knows his business, then there are words of encouragement in the article. Celtic has “moved on” to new targets.
And that’s where trusting the manager comes in.
Since all of us do, it’s not as big a setback as it might otherwise be.
Brendan knows the kind of player he wants, someone very much in the Roberts mould or in the fashion of Fabio Borrini. I’m not suggesting Borrini is the target – word from down south is that it would take a mountain of money there – but a player who can do what he does.
In other words, a guy who can play on the outside of a front three but who’s capable of weighing in with a lot of goals over the course of a campaign. Patrick proved himself very capable of that … but a better example is the guy who already plays on the left in our side.
Scott Sinclair is the prototype for what Brendan is looking for, and it’s why he’s signed Hayes, as the Scottish equivalent. Hayes gets into the penalty box and scores goals from out wide. When Brendan asked Leigh Griffiths if he could adapt his game to that position last year it was because the system Brendan plays, which looks like one man upfront, is, more often than not, an adapted 4-3-3. And Sinclair is brilliant in that role.
Borrini is too, which is why I initially thought there might be something in that story.
It’s clearly why Hayes is on board; he will offer us more in front of goal than young James Forrest currently does. But Brendan sees Hayes as a squad player, a useful one to be sure, but there to provide competition instead of being a guaranteed starter.
It also suggest that although he likes the improvement in Forrest that he’s not entirely convinced that my namesake is going to give him everything he wants in that role.
So who are we looking at if it not Patrick?
Well, Celtic prefers to conduct its business on the quiet so we’d be guessing, but there are reports in England, as I said yesterday, about Adan Januzaj, but those same reports have him linked to Roma and his transfer fee and salary terms are likely to be absolutely out of sight. That one doesn’t seem viable.
But Brendan knows the marketplace.
He knows what he wants and what he needs.
I’d be very surprised if we don’t have something tied up soon that will answer all our questions and tick all the boxes.
In Brendan We Trust, after all.