If it’s true that Arsenal have submitted a £25 million offer for Kieran Tierney – if it isn’t just idle chatter in the media, or the London club trying to unsettle the player – then we’re in a place where we need to start getting serious about some things.
And first and foremost is that he’s probably not going to stay at the club.
At the start of this window, I would have been angry at that.
But things change, and what’s changed here is that the scope of Lennon’s ambitions have since become clear.
And those plans need to be funded.
Now, for the record, I would still not let McGregor go, because I think his importance to this team is enormous. His sale would be a game-changer and we’d be setting ourselves up for major problems if such a fantastic footballer were removed from the team.
But we’ve brought in a decent left back already, and another as backup would do fine.
Kieran hasn’t been 100% for a while, and it might be months before he is again.
That has to have been factored into Celtic’s thinking here.
I have always believed that given a chance, Kieran would go where the money is; when he described being a footballer as “his job” some years back it was a mark of professionalism but also an admission of reality. He will claim always to be a Celtic fan, but that does not mean he will stay a Celtic player.
I have been mentally preparing myself for this moment for many months.
And being honest, I can’t see, realistically, how either club or player can turn the move down.
Reluctantly, I have to conclude that it’s the right thing to do.
£25 million is a fortune for a footballer from Scotland; if he was playing in England it would be higher, but I’ll go one better than that.
If he had been fit for the last 12 months it would have had to be.
That Arsenal are the only club in the bidding here is the only real surprise and it is the reason this whole thing hasn’t turned into an auction, where the value might have gone up and up and up. Kieran is worth it. But we have to be practical here.
Tierney has spent many months at less than fully fit.
We have to think about whether or not the game in Scotland really suits him anymore.
No player is subjected to the rough-housing he is.
If anything should make a footballer wonder about his future, it is this.
Yes, I’ve said that Kieran will be a millionaire whether he stays at Celtic or not – and he will be.
But every player has that nagging doubt at the back of his mind. “What if …?”
And if I might be ruthless for a moment, so should the club.
I’ve thought a lot about this, and this was not an easy conclusion to come to.
But if Tierney goes at that price then we’ve done the right thing for all concerned.
£25 million gives Lennon the tools to mould this team into the one he wants it to be. No playing cheap. We can go out and fill every position he wants filling and we can turn this team into a juggernaut which can roll over the opposition far into the future.
Or we can have a left back living the dream.
Unfortunately, our financial position, here in Scotland, means that if Lennon is to get everything he needs, far less everything he wants, that players are going to have to go. It will be awful if Tierney is one of them, but our club has to maintain its stable position.
We cannot overspend, and we will not overspend, just to chase ten in a row.
Leave that to the other lot.