Somewhere, out there, is the next big Celtic player, the next big hero who we’ve not heard of yet.
He is almost certainly playing football right now. He will spend at least five years at the club; that’s about the right timeframe for someone becoming a genuine star. If he stays for seven – as long as King Henrik did – he can become a legend.
I don’t know his name, but I strongly suspect that he’s already at Celtic Park, although it’s not impossible that he’s out there somewhere at the youth academy of some other club. The only way we’ll ever make such a player a Celtic legend is to buy him.
Nobody is going to be a legend who we brought here on loan and then developed for somebody else. Those guys don’t make it onto the front of Official Histories. Unless he returns, Patrick Roberts won’t be, although he’s already been here for two and a half years.
What’s brought this rant on is the “news” today that we’ve entered “the race” for Liverpool youth player Harry Wilson. I don’t know if the story is true or not, or if this is a move to try and make us look back if he ends up at Ibrox, but either way I think this is a backward step. He might well be a top talent – this kid might well be the Second Coming of Dalglish for all I know – but it’s the wrong move regardless. We are bigger than that.
We are neither a feeder club nor an affiliate.
The loan system has worked out well for us up until now, but with so many tremendous talents already at our club I would rather we gave some of them a chance. If we are going to go after up and coming talent I’d rather we went out and bought the players we want than to do the work of other clubs for them. It’s all well and good if, like with Odsonne, we have a “try before you buy” option but bringing on someone else’s youth players when we should be giving opportunities to our own … no more.
Brendan has a wonderful reputation for developing young footballers.
There are players at Celtic Park who will owe their careers to this guy.
And we have forged links with clubs in England that a certain other club would kill for. But it’s a reputation I don’t want us to get. The collapse of the Musonda deal was the warning shot; he had all the talent in the world, but there was a reason Chelsea was willing to let him go out on loan.
Our squad is bursting at the seams with talent, and according to the press the John McGinn saga is finally entering its final phase.
We have cracking young footballers already at the club and our future transfer business should be about bringing in the players who will take this club forward for years to come … and not just one season wonders who’ll return to their parent clubs with the trophies our own young players should have had a chance at.