Reports in Aberdeen and Glasgow suggest that the most drawn out transfer saga of the summer is over.
Celtic has signed their first player of the window, and of course it is Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes.
The deal will cost us £1.3 million, plus Ryan Christie on a season long loan.
This move is one that hasn’t exactly seized the Celtic fans with enthusiasm, but it is now complete and he is a Celtic player and will get the warm welcome and good wishes any signing would.
Hayes is a guy we all know about.
Perhaps that’s part of the problem.
As much as his positive attributes are known to us, so too are his negative ones. He’s been an SPL player for a long time, and this deal could have been done in any given year. It’s hard to see how he improves the overall quality of this current team.
But what he does, he does very well.
Hayes scores goals. That’s the first thing he brings to the table. He also creates them.
Aberdeen fans are sorry to see him go; that’s usually a good sign.
Forget all this talk about Brendan “knowing the player well”; their prior working relationship dates back so long ago that it’s not worth mentioning. Brendan knows the player as he is right now, and if one manager can elevate him above his basic level then it’s the man in the dugout at Celtic Park.
I have to believe Brendan sees more to him than his domestic form would suggest.
I also have to believe that Hayes is not indicative of the kind of signings we can expect from the rest of this window, predominately cheap options who build onto the squad but who add exactly nothing to the first team that we don’t already have.
If there’s one fact in mitigation here it’s this; Jonny Hayes is being judged by the standards an Invincible team has just set. Before Brendan came along this might well have been seen as a pretty decent piece of transfer business.
There were other clubs interested, but I hear that we were Hayes first and only choice. He wants to play for Celtic. This is his dream move. That, too, is a positive. That’s something we can all get behind, and I’m sure he’ll make it quite clear at his unveiling why this was his decision.
He can’t be faulted for good judgement!
Hayes’ move to Celtic is important too for what it means to Aberdeen.
I would think “little hope” of hanging onto their manager is now “zero hope.” McInnes isn’t my cup of tea, as everybody knows full well, but the guy has been treated abysmally by the club in this window. Key players have departed, weakening his squad. I also wonder how he feels when he looks across at Ibrox and their spending, in blatant contravention of UEFA Financial Fair Play rules. McInnes knows his club has done nothing about that. He’s been hamstrung.
But I think that in the long term this is the right move for the Pittodrie club. McInnes was incapable of taking them to the next level. He didn’t have anywhere near the smarts people sometimes said, and his record in major matches was shocking.
He is a serial underachiever, who I predict with full confidence won’t last a year at Sunderland.
Celtic continue to be linked with other players including Manchester United’s young winger Adnan Januzaj. This would be a hugely ambitious move, but one I very much doubt we would be able to pull off. We’ll watch how that one develops.
In the meantime, we have our first signing, and as I’ve said, in terms of the SPL I have no fears that it’s a good one. But he’ll have to prove himself on the much bigger stage if this move is to work out in everyone’s best interests.
Jonny Hayes, welcome to the Greatest Club in the World.
You have one Hell of a job to do.