The pursuit of a goalkeeper goes on, and once again we seem to have Peter Lawwell excelling in his usual role of playing high-stakes poker with a selling club.
This has cost us before.
The so-called Sharp Suited Man really thinks he’s better at this than he is.
The target appears to be Vasilios Barkas.
There is time a-plenty left to get much of the business done, but I dislike it strongly when we mess about.
I think £6 million or thereabouts is an awful lot of money for a keeper, but when a club has put that value on a player it’s plainly taking the piss to offer half of it. If that’s obvious to someone sitting in front of a computer pressing keys it should be obvious to all at Celtic Park.
Lawwell likes to play strong, but there’s not a club in the world who isn’t aware that we’re looking for a goalie right now.
The prices have gone up accordingly, which is exactly what happened here.
I get that we don’t want to pay over the odds … but we need to proceed with caution, and if necessary even to walk away.
To show that we have our limits too.
We’ve identified this guy as our first choice, or so it seems to me, and our offer(s) so far appear to bear that out.
But that doesn’t mean we let them hold us to ransom.
The real danger here is in playing raise, call, raise, call with the clock ticking.
Better to bin a bad hand than to waste time here that we don’t have.
If they’re holding out for their value, we should move on.
Now, it might well be that we’re playing our own little game here, in making it look like we’re after this guy in an effort to pressure another club into lowering their price for the target we really want; one assumes that it’s Southampton and big Forster.
This, too, is dangerous. In this kind of game Southampton might sell Forster as we dither on the margins, leaving us with one option and a club that then can name its price. We’ll be lucky at that point to get Barkas for £6 million, forcing us to Plan C’s and D’s.
Although I refuse to panic, we’ve heard this tune before at Celtic Park, time and time again.
It would be a singularly bad campaign in which to screw something like this up. Failure this season, and Lawwell have scorched his own reputation forevermore … and there’s no way he or a bunch of others could remain at Celtic Park beyond it.
Like I said, this is not the time for flapping or heading to the carpark with the pitch-forks.
Moves are afoot.
We should be pleased that there are signs of life.
What fans want though are signs of progress, and that means getting people in the door.
There’s a time and place for Lawwell’s version of brinksmanship.
There are pre-seasons where it might fly.
This is not one of those pre-seasons.
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