Well that one didn’t last long, did it? The Griffiths campaign has ended with both manager and player slamming the media; Leigh called them “muppets” on Twitter. A brilliant response. This strengthens my view that he’ll start tonight’s game.
With that one now firmly in the bin, the media narrative moves on trying to get Dembele out the door. Last night I pointed out how The Record had pulled its own story on this; trust McGarry at The Daily Mail to be the one hack who took up the story on their behalf. As was wholly predictable, many of the rest have now jumped aboard the bus.
Let’s break this down; what exactly did Dembele say?
He said the plan is to be at Celtic Park at least until the end of the current campaign. But plans can sometimes change. Was he referring to himself? Yes and no. He’s also talking about Celtic. If Moussa has wanderlust and the right offer comes in at the end of this season, yes he’ll go. Of course he will. We aren’t hostage takers; we’ll allow the man to pursue his career options elsewhere. He accepts that, we accept that, and he’s simply stating a fact.
It won’t happen in January. There’s no chance of it whatsoever. The club would not agree to it and there’s no reason why Moussa should want it. We have a tough game in St Petersburg coming up and if the media listened to everything the guy said instead of Record hacks pissing their pants over something they thought they heard hinted at between the lines of his actual words, they would know he’s looking forward to that game like everyone else.
Is it impossible that it will happen in January? No, it’s not. But if the media’s idea of breaking news is to make a list of not impossible things I’d have more to write about and they wouldn’t need to be regurgitating this “Neil Lennon would have taken the Sevco job” nonsense which actually is a story from last week, but somehow ended up in the papers again today.
Of course Moussa could leave in January. Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona. Neymar could yet decide he doesn’t like Parisian food and try to find a way back to Spain. If we’re looking at scenarios which could conceivably happen we could fill a book on only the crazy ones involving Scottish clubs. Rich Arab sheiks could buy Sevco and all their problems would be solved. It’s not going to happen. We know it’s not going to happen.
Speculating on it is ridiculous.
I’ve been saying for weeks here that the way to end the speculation at a stroke is to get Moussa into the manager’s office and put a new deal, a lucrative new deal, with five years on it, in front of him for his signature. Keep him here for two more years. I suspect that’s exactly what Celtic will try to do. If he has ambition he’ll sign it. This week’s story had him linked with Brighton; he hasn’t put in the time thus far in his career to take a step like that.
And he’s still short of being a first team player at the likes of Manchester United or Arsenal. He’s got a way to go, and he’ll benefit more playing every week than he will warming the bench. That’s why I think an improved deal at Celtic is more likely than not.
Griffiths has a special relationship with Brendan. The two are close. Brendan has done more for his career than any other boss, and the hysteria just because he’s been benched for a few games hides the large number of matches he’s played in. Edouard is getting a chance right now to show what he can do; Celtic rates this kid highly. He’s dazzling at Lennoxtown, from all accounts, and the club very much wants to see him in competitive football.
Don’t forget, we have an option to buy this kid. If he explodes and starts hammering in the goals he might be Moussa’s readymade replacement in case that big contract offer doesn’t tempt him. And don’t underestimate the nationality aspect; Edouard is the third French Under 21 in the squad. I think there’ll be more. French football is on the up and up and Celtic are in there, and want to build a little enclave. That improves our chances of keeping Dembele here.
Leigh’s future in the team might be playing wide. He won’t enjoy it at first but Sinclair has shown that you can play out there and score goals for fun. Why should Leigh be any different? But that 100 goals beckons and he’ll get it and he’ll get many more beyond it because whether he’s part of a front two, playing the lone striker role, or coming in from the left or the right and laying on goals and scoring them whilst someone else takes the central slot it doesn’t matter … his future is right here at Parkhead and that’s how he wants it and how the manager wants it.
Everything else is just tittle-tattle, and he’s let the “muppets” in the media know it.
Good on you Leigh, and well done Brendan.
Now get Moussa signed up on that new deal!