I enjoy studying trends, and there’s an interesting one which emerged over the course of this transfer window. It’s the way Scottish clubs have, by and large, held onto their best players or at least made sure they got a decent price for them. Only one team lost what it would have regarded as a top talent for a nominal sum during this window, and that was the one at Ibrox when their young winger Barrie McKay went to Forest for a pittance.
The rest of the league held firm. Offers for top players were rejected as derisory where they were, or clubs held out for better money and got it. A case in point was Motherwell, whose defender Ben Heneghan had a year on his deal and was the subject of a £250,000 offer from Blackburn last week. The Steelmen rejected that bid outright. When Sheffield United came in yesterday offering £400,000 they grabbed it. They got their valuation.
Hibs held firm on John McGinn, in spite of interest from Forest.
This was a good window for our clubs, and all that is to say nothing for Celtic’s resolve.
Once again, we’ve done Scottish football a big favour although we will get no credit for it whatsoever. We’ve made it clear that we want what our players are worth, not some low-ball valuation based on them playing in a league which doesn’t attract big TV money.
We’ve said that top talent is top talent and that comes with a big price tag.
In time, other Scottish clubs will benefit from that, or at least those who have something half decent to sell in the first place will.
Jayden Stockley, anyone?
As I said last night, this guy has found his level at Exeter.
It’s a joke that anyone believed he was of the quality needed to play in a top flight league, even one as poorly rated as this.
In fact, in the last two seasons we’ve reversed what was a worrying trend … Celtic have now taken four players from under the noses of interested English clubs; Sinclair, Dembele, Kenyu and Ntcham.
Actually, I’ve also been impressed with the business done at some of the other clubs, particularly at Aberdeen where they’ve bought some good quality, proven players who can take them forward and cement that second spot. Hibs have rebuilt well too, with the only disappointment being that they allowed Forest to steal Jason Cummings … and that is the worst deal any Scottish club has done in this window bar one.
The £1 million Hibs got for him was chump change … but it was still double what the same club paid for McKay when he left Ibrox.
And that’s the most obvious example of an English club basically bullying a skint Scottish team that we’ve seen this window.
Sevco couldn’t afford to turn down a sum which they would have regarded not that long ago as an insult. I’ve written extensively on why Pedro did that, in part because his dressing room was so fractured that he felt he had little choice, but mostly it was down to the fact that the club needs the cash.
The window has seen Scottish clubs assert themselves, but clubs can only do that if they are working from strong foundations.
Hearts, Aberdeen, Hibs and the rest have got their houses in order, at last, and the benefits of that are being seen.
One club continues to believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, and they are the ones who got rid of twelve players this summer and barely made a dent in the debt.