Earlier in the month, I suggested that Celtic would be extremely foolish to hope that Alfie Doughty might want to spurn any other interest in him and take a chance on signing for us on a pre-contract agreement in January. If that was the strategy, I thought it was a bust.
But since then, Celtic has upped their offer the player, and were reputedly going to make a last one of around £800,000 if you believe the many sources who have spoken about it.
That seems like a modest sum of money for a player we really like … but there are extenuating circumstances here.
Today Lee Bowyer has taken a pretty undisguised shot at us in the media, basically suggesting that we’ve been taking the piss a bit with our offers.
If the first one was well short of what they want for him, I can tell you that Bowyer’s comments suggest that the cash-strapped club would refuse a third one. When he says £1 million wouldn’t shift them, he is either talking crap or he’s frankly delusional.
Charlton are skint and in debt, so are they really going to turn down £1 million or a bid close to it?
I’m moved to wonder just what he’s really bumping his gums about.
We were encouraged to up our first offer and we did. We would probably up our second offer as well if he wasn’t talking such nonsense about an acceptable fee.
Don’t forget, we are talking here about a player who is in the final year of his contract, a player who’s not played at the highest level in any country yet, a player who’s 20 now and has spent four of the last five years playing in the lower reaches of England.
Yes, he played 30 Championship games last season, but his club was still relegated and are now in dire trouble.
Is he worth much more than we’ve offered?
A lower league footballer?
Where’s the other interest that would turn this into an auction?
Doubtless there are sides out there who are looking at the guy, but how much are they willing to offer?
Because if one of them was willing to match, or beat, what we have then Bowyer wouldn’t be ragging on us quite so much. As the only club to submit an actual offer his real concern is that his club has no money and so we can pretty much command the negotiations.
His club is playing a bad hand badly here. Celtic aren’t going to be shamed into paying over the odds; this tactic was tested to destruction by another lower league club, Peterborough, in this window already. We didn’t play that game and we won’t play this one.
I don’t like the strategy of “wait until January.”
But actually, in this case I’d be willing to support it if this is how Bowyer and Charlton want to do business.
They are doing themselves no favours and giving the kid a really bad choice to make.
Whatever they think of the offers so far, we’ve been professional in our approach.
They cannot say the same, can they?
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