Johan Mjallby wants to see Kristofer Ajer become “another Van Dijk.”
His hopes for the player are built around him moving to a bigger league, if not necessarily a bigger club.
Stan Petrov thinks it is inevitable that Kieran Tierney will move to England.
He has even gone so far as to say that we won’t have a choice in the matter.
But do we really?
Finances dictate the opposite actually.
We are not in a position where we have to accept any offer for any player.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to know that if disaster strikes and we crash out of Europe in the first round two years in a row that there are assets in the playing squad who would fetch colossal sums of money to plug the hole … but we’re a long way from that.
Hypothetical nonsense aside, we are in a good place money wise. We had £30 million sitting in the bank the last time someone checked; that is not a position from which we should be weakening the team, and Kieran would be incredibly difficult to replace.
Even with double that in the bank – and why should we settle for less for the best Scottish player of his generation? – we would find him a difficult act to follow, to say nothing for how it would feel to lose a home-grown player who could go on to be a club icon.
Kieran has never shown any sign that he wants to leave; when he says he’s “living the dream” we have no real reason not to believe it.
But Rodgers’ sudden departure ought to have reminded us that the game has no real loyalty anymore.
Individuals may outshine others in that department, but we cannot count on it. Not anymore, and not for a long time.
That so many of our former players are practically lining up to create fodder for newspapers about how our best stars will all eventually be flogged to England is further proof of it. It has become depressingly familiar to all of us.
I really wish they’d cease with it. I wish more of them would talk about the greatness of Celtic and of how money isn’t everything, about how this club can give a player a good living on top of everything some of those clubs who have all the cash can’t. People like Rodgers might prefer the Leicester’s of this world, but others want to win things and be part of history … that’s all that’s left when everything else is gone. That’s what lasts forever, a legacy that never fades.
Mjallby and Petrov should know that already; they were part of the team which almost wrote its name into the history books in words every bit as big as the Lions. Had John Hartson been able to play in Seville I still believe we’d have beaten Porto and every player in that team would have the immortality which goes with such an achievement.
Those guys were amazing for Celtic, and they know how special the club is. Isn’t it high time they talked us up instead of listing all the reasons our best players would want to go elsewhere? All those reasons come down to cash, when everything’s said and done.
It’s as if it’s the only loyalty there is for some people. Others – and I hope Tierney is one of them – see more clearly. If he one day decides to go that’s one thing, but it is not inevitable. Nor is Celtic accepting the first big offer that comes along.
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