This morning I read Keith Jackson’s article and there was a moment in it which occasioned a hearty laugh; the part where he said that for every fiver Celtic have spent in this window that Sevco has spent ten. Honestly, that one really hit the funny bone hard.
The number is nonsense, but he even used the word “literally” to describe it.
Ntcham cost us around £3.5 million, and I’m deliberately using the minimum figure I’ve read. Hayes cost us £1 million more. That’s £4.5 million unless my maths is way off. To have “literally” spent twice what we have means Sevco has spent £9 million this window. Minimum.
On what? Show me where that money has gone. All of the signings they’ve made have been for nominal, or undisclosed, sums.
But I’ll tell you, it’s nowhere near £9 million.
Not even close.
The thing is, Jackson isn’t suggesting that our board is parsimonious; he’s saying King has backed this guy.
But we have no idea how much.
This was the mechanism the media and King used to sell season tickets, this nonsense about the manager having big money. I read some of the Sevco fan forums last night and they are doggedly determined that this squad is better than last years, but aside from Alves, Jack and Dorrans they’ve never heard of any of them.
The media does that club no favours in reproducing crap like that. It blows expectations into the stratosphere.
By the end of this season at least one of their new buys will be gone – I even know who it will be, and so does the press – and it will not be because an EPL club swooped in and signed him for big money. Which brings me to the point.
The last two Sevco players who were reckoned to be worth large sums were home grown footballers Lewis MacLeod and Barrie McKay.
McKay was famously “valued” at £6 million.
He eventually left Ibrox for less than one tenth of that.
MacLeod’s initial sales fee was under £1 million, rising eventually to £1.2 million.
That’s a total of £1.7 million if they get every penny.
When we sold Izaguerre last month we doubled our money on the player we bought for just £600,000 seven years ago. That’s what Sevco will get if they bank every penny from the MacLeod fee, and we got good service from our Honduran.
There are at least six players in our squad who could arguably command an eight figure sum if we put them up for sale tomorrow – Tierney, Armstrong, Sinclair, Dembele, Simunovic and Rogic – and it’s hard to see us getting less than mid-seven figures for a bunch of others.
The overall value of our squad could buy and sell Sevco three or four times.
Our goalkeeper is 34. Chelsea offered more than £4 million for him during the summer. What will Ntcham be worth in two years? What happens if Bitton develops into a good centre back, or plays a more prominent role in the team? What’s a firing on all cylinders Leigh Griffiths worth? Sviatchenko would command a minimum of £5 million. We could bag £3 million on the first day of the auction if young Callum was available.
None of this will happen, of course, because these guys are part of Brendan’s squad and his long-term plan, but the point stands. We have a team of big players, for whom we could get big money. Look around at the other clubs in the SPL; Aberdeen have three or four footballers who would command low seven figures. So do Hibs. Hearts aren’t willing to settle for less than £1 million for Jamie Walker, and nor should they.
Where are the marquee footballers at Ibrox? The media had to invent a transfer figure – soon shot down by Ipswich – for Joe Garner, to offer the appearance that the club had got itself a good deal. If they really are going to try and catch us by becoming a conveyer belt club they aren’t off to a very good start. Warburton’s team has been dismantled and they haven’t brought in would Celtic would have made if they had accepted some of the Armstrong offers.
Jackson’s stupid assertion that they’ve outspent us in this window would be dumb even if you were basing it on the numbers and nothing more. Their spending has brought them nine players, our own just two, and the two we signed have augmented a top drawer team that was already there, a title winning team, an invincible team.
And the spending hasn’t stopped. Far from it. We’ve got some footballers to bring in yet. Our squad has not been weakened. More importantly, there’s value to that squad, which is big for our reputation and for our prospects on the pitch both.
I asked eighteen months ago where the next names on The Celtic Way were coming from; that was at a time when Ronny was in charge and we looked leaderless off the pitch. Here we are today in a transformed position. I knew we had a very good squad then, but they needed someone to bring out the best in them and we appointed a top drawer manager who did. But if the team hadn’t been capable of rising to the challenge, we might not have got Brendan.
No top drawer manager would go to Ibrox to work with that squad, but even if one did there’s little chance of them realising “potential” in these players. There’s no-sale value in that team of theirs. This is where the real gap is, more than the money or the league positions … the Celtic squad has an average age of around 26 and is full of bankable assets. They are signing 36 year old defenders and giving contracts to the likes of Kenny Miller.
This is where the top clubs are.
The contrast is incredible.