Yesterday we got some pretty shocking news on the transfer front.
If you believe our critics and our enemies that is. We were told that we’re not going to get the paltry sum that Marseille had offered for Olivier Ntcham. We were told he was coming back to Celtic.
To me, that’s actually the best news I’ve heard in a while.
Ntcham might be many things, but he is not a bad footballer. If we have to keep him at Celtic for the final year of his contract, then so be it; it’s another position we don’t need to touch in the rebuild.
I would hang onto him rather than let him go for what now would be a rock bottom sum. I would keep him for the final year and see what happens.
Olivier needs a career re-set and Marseille was not the place for that. This is a player who needs to feel the love, who needs to know he’s appreciated, a player who gets good vibes from his surroundings and the people in them.
He went to Marseille and the first thing that greeted him were negative headlines. It will have been a humbling, even chastening, experience. He will have learned that the grass isn’t always greener on the other size. And something else too; the disaster of his time there might well have reminded me that he’s not quite the player the thinks he is.
One of the problems for Ntcham was that he was a competitor in a crowded field; Celtic had more than enough midfield players. But as of next season that field will be somewhat lessened; we expect the departures of Rogic and Christie. We know that Brown is going to go. We hear that Bitton will be heading out of the door as well.
Suddenly that field is not quite so crowded any longer, and with the wages we’ve freed up there might even be scope for offering a rejuvenated player willing to put the work in a new deal which protects him and us … and allows him to leave at the end of next season for a better club than Marseille and for us to realise a healthier profit.
The thing is – and this will be true for all the players – once their valuation falls below a certain point, you have to consider if it’s worth just retaining them for the last year than letting them go for a pittance.
The prize for winning next season’s title is automatic qualification to the Champions League Groups.
So should we really be letting go of a player of his technical ability for next to nothing when we can keep him and push for that?
The thing about bringing a new manager in is that there are likely to be one or two shocks in who stays and who goes; when Rodgers arrived on the scene I was fairly sure that more than a few Celtic players were done for at the club, and the most notable case in point was James Forrest, who was in his last year of a deal and had actually told the club that he was going.
Brendan Rodgers re-fired his love for the game and Celtic at the same time.
Depending on who the new guy is and what the scope of his vision is, I reckon he might want to talk to all the players hankering after a move. I think at least some of them were concerned that the club had gone backwards with a certain managerial appointment.
If the club is finally showing ambition again I reckon we might see at least one of them sign a new deal and stay at Parkhead a little longer, to see where the new road takes us, as Forrest did.
We’ll find out in due course I suppose, but nobody is gone until they’ve left the building for the last time and I’ve seen more than a few players make the u-turn before.
I’ve always thought that Ollie was a better footballer than he’s shown us on a consistent basis.
His career on the slide right now.
Only he can arrest that before he ends up playing lower league football in England and vanishes without a trace.
The new manager may offer him the platform to do just that, and I for one would be very relaxed about the prospect if he did.