Date: 12th August 2018 at 11:39am
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The headlines this weekend involving Dedryck Boyata have been pretty grotesque, haven’t they?

They have all come from one source, one man, Jacques Lichtenstein, the player’s “agent”, who turned up at our training ground apparently thinking he could simply demand a meeting with the manager and was told that wasn’t on.

For openers, how unprofessional is that? If Boyata really is being “advised” by this guy then the advice stinks.

His “representative” just told the world that his player will go on strike if he isn’t happy at a club. He’s told the world that you can forget Boyata running through walls for a team if he thinks the prospect of being injured will harm his own career.

Central defenders, more than any other players except perhaps keepers, put themselves in harm’s way. They have to be tough. They have to be resilient. Boyata’s agent has said that if his player is “less than 95%” – almost all players play at less than 95% – he’s not risking it.

I cannot think of a more self-defeating narrative to put in the public domain.

Interested clubs will be heading for the hills, and if Boyata goes through with such a ridiculous threat and “downs tools” the only place he’s going to be going is our youth team, where he can rot on the bench. Once it’s out in the world that aside from being prone to awful defensive lapses that Boyata is “trouble” and that his agent is toxic … bye bye big pay days.

I don’t know a single Celtic fan who would keep Boyata in light of multi-million pound offers and interest.

He’s just not that great. He’s not a £10 million player, and the one blessing of his not playing in Athens is the nagging suspicion that he would prove that and send us spiralling out as well as his value spiralling down.

His agent says he’s going to sit and run down his contract, which will cost us money. But it will cost Boyata too, as there is no way any manager would play him now with such a public declaration of disloyalty and lack of regard for the club out there.

Boyata has probably played his last game for us. The time we need him is now, and if he’s not going to play at this point then he’s no use to us later. I can conceive of no circumstances where the manager would hand him a jersey now. The response from the stands would be vitriolic, and if this is his attitude then deservedly so. His every mistake would result in booing and jeering and honestly he could have no complaints.

And so his time here will end in disgrace. With a public display of petulance from a player who owes our manager for saving the ragged threads of his career. Who owes Brendan Rodgers for the fact he even has a career at all at this point.

He was the forgotten man of Celtic Park when Brendan came along.

His lack of loyalty is breath-taking.

And yet all this assumes that he’s actually represented by Jacques Lichtenstein. If Boyata wants to stay at Celtic Park the first thing he’ll have to do is ditch his agent. If Celtic is not keeping Lichtenstein “in the loop” then perhaps the reason lies in his past.

In 2005, Lichtenstein was involved in a high profile con-job.

It started when Arsenal bought Gilberto Silva from Atletico Minerio. They did it through all the proper channels, using the player’s agent, in a deal that everyone was very satisfied with. Or at least most people. But two others – Ronny Rosenthal and Jacques Lichtenstein – popped up to claim that they were due a part of the fee for “brokering” the Arsenal interest in the first place.

Arsenal denied that. Minerio claimed no such agreement existed. The issue went to court with Lichtenstein and Rosenthal claiming a 10% cut of the transfer fee – £450,000. The judge not only denied the claim but forced the “agents” to pay costs of £190,000 saying that their behaviour was endemic of a culture in football which “illustrates the growing practice of agents claiming a fee even if they have had no direct involvement with a transfer.”

This guy is a nasty piece of work and as greedy and self-serving as they come. Amidst a cadre of players you’ve never heard of or ever will, he represents only three other high profile footballers; PSG right back Thomas Meunier, Jelle Vossen the Brugge striker and Vincent Kompany of Manchester City, who he has been the rep for since the player’s earliest days at Anderlecht. He deals almost exclusively in the Belgian market; he has been unable to secure his firm – Eleven Management – a rota of high class players

If he gets £9 million for Boyata it will be the second biggest deal of his career after the one that took Kompany to German football in 2006. Twelve years without a high value payday; you can see why the prospect of Boyata moving makes his eyes light up.

Celtic will certainly remember his name. He has dealt dishonestly here. He has run to the press instead of acting like a professional. He has made unreasonable demands. And last, but by no means least, he has imperilled his client with talk of bringing him out on strike.

If Boyata is to stay at Celtic Park – if he is to salvage his own professional reputation instead of letting himself be branded a disloyal fraud – he needs to get himself a new agent and quick. If this guy speaks for him, the talking is over.