I enjoy John Hartson at times, and last night when I read his column on Dedryck Boyata I was especially ticked by his idea that if we keep the big man and get him to sign a new deal that we’ve got a £29 million player on our hands. It’s a great notion, but I don’t believe it for a minute and neither will anyone inside Celtic Park.
Dedryck has given us a good campaign. That’s about all. He hasn’t been exceptional. He hasn’t been a standout. He is no Virgil Van Dijk, that’s for sure, nor a Victor Wanyama or the sort of player who would normally command an astronomical fee.
In fact, Dedryck Boyata is a player most Celtic fans would have taken £2 million for in the middle of last season. All too often, he is caught short. At Ibrox, when the Graeme Murty hype machine was in overdrive he had a dreadful early time of it, and was culpable for the loss of the first goal. He almost sold another late in the game.
As good as some of his performances have been – and he notably improved from that day forward, by doing the simple thing during games – he has never looked like a player on who we can reliably depend and is not one of the top 10 talked about summer targets on the Transfer Hound. He is too prone to those kind of costly mistakes.
It was always going to be the case that some good performances in the World Cup would put the player in the shop window, but I never expected – and nor did anyone else – that we might be offered a sum just shy of eight figures for him, and especially not in the last year of his current contract. The offer is hypothetical, but if it becomes real the question as to what we do about it will naturally come to the fore. And the answer is easy.
We take the money, of course. It’s a no-brainer. It’s one of those deals that is just so obviously good business that you can forget looking for negatives. I have long argued that I would not sell Dembele for any price unless he was clamouring to go. I’ve said that Kieran Tierney is irreplaceable, no matter the fee we would get, because these guys have the potential to go all the way to the top, as does our recent find Olivier Ntcham.
And players who could command those kind of fees are players we should be trying to hang onto as long as we could. They are class acts.
But simply put, for all his improvement, Dedryck Boyata is not a £9 million player, far less one worth nearly three times that sum. Not with five years on his deal or five months on it. He is simply isn’t that good, and there should be no question of us turning such a sum down. It would be as stupid as if Sevco had actually received and rejected one of the fabled “Chinese bids” for Morelos. It is the easiest decision we would face in this window.