Rival managers have a lot of different tools when it comes to messing with the minds of the opposition bosses, but Dan Petrescu’s effort is especially interesting.
Last week it was as if someone in our own media had been steering him towards posturing and talking up his own team. This is not hard to believe when you consider that the Scottish press had spent two weeks bigging him and his club up.
Today he’s talking about ours, and bigging them up instead.
His comments are interesting though.
He thinks we have a very squad, so good in fact that most of it will not be at Celtic Park within the next two years.
I would normally be pissed about this – and I know for sure the media has been pushing this line – but actually I think it is interesting to get the perspective on someone outside the country on why we’re so successful.
It suits the media to keep the conversation here, on the dismantling of Celtic’s most effective team since the 1967 side, and one of the most successful Scottish sides ever.
I understand why they keep on going on about this, but you cannot escape the fact it’s a backhanded compliment all the same.
Petrescu is right. We have done something massive here.
Whether it’s scouting or coaching or a bit of both, we’ve managed to create a squad full of high value players. Whenever we sell one there’s a perception that we’ve got nothing more to trade; I remember us selling Van Dijk and Forster and Wanyama and people saying “well who’s left?”
Within a few years we were selling Dembele for a Scottish record, which we just broke with Tierney.
McGregor would go for even more, and Ajer might go for a bigger number again.
The same will apply to Edouard; we will certainly net more than the Dembele fee on the day he leaves.
We’re not looking forward to those days, but it’s an acknowledgement of how strong we are.
Petrescu mentions Ryan Christie as well, and he would certainly fetch an eight figure sum.
Why is this significant?
It is significant because our squad has never had so many high value footballers in it, and when you consider that Mikey Johnson and Ewan Henderson are coming through right now, along with Okoflex and young Karamoko Dembele there’s no sign that this is going to end.
We are doing something very, very right here.
I see no sign that other clubs are doing this or even know how to. Aberdeen has produced a fantastic centre back in Scott McKenna but nobody is going to pay the kind of money for him that the club wants far less what Arsenal just paid us for Tierney.
At Ibrox they have wasted a lot of time and money trying to replicate what we’ve done and are no closer to it.
Tavernier will not go for the millions they expect and neither will Morelos.
In the same window where they’ve actually had to confect stories about these players we have had concrete interest in Tierney, Ntcham, Ajer, Simunovic, Forrest and McGregor. We could have sold any one of them for a seven figure sum and they are, of course, not the only ones.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to make things clear, and although I think the core of this team will be together for a lot longer than Petrescu does, his central point is that we have stumbled onto the formula not just for success but, crucially, for lasting success.
That should scare the living daylights out of the clubs who think they can get us.
They don’t have a hope in Hell.