Celtic faces the biggest rebuilding job in decades this summer; the question is, how much money can we realistically put behind a job that size? The answer is simple; it depends on who’s going, and how much we get for them.
One thing is certain this time around; every penny we bring in from player sales has to go back onto the pitch. Every penny. The objective is to win the league title, because we know that the prize, if we do, is automatic qualification for the Champions League Groups.
That’s the number one consideration.
Get the recruitment right this summer and it will literally pay for itself. That pot of gold will be coming our way with all the fanfare, all the bells and whistles. The prize for winning the next title will not be the paltry SPL pot … it’s the jackpot.
So let’s assume we bring in a manager who has a plan. Say we sell the full season ticket allocation. That’s our money to cover the campaign. We can’t really take Champions League group stage football for granted; the path is brutal, and I think we’ll lose out on it.
But there’s no reason that we can’t do reasonably well in the Europa League Groups if we get the right squad in place. So let’s try to budget on that assumption … it’s a risk but no greater than the one we take every single year now.
Assume that even without sales the manager would get around £10 million to spend. That’s not going to come close to what we need, even if we’re maintaining the current squad in full. That won’t make a dent in the job. We are going to need to sell to fund this right.
We should be aiming for £20 million minimum for Edouard, and we’ll get it. We may not get much more, but my starting price would be £25 million and take it from there. But let’s assume £20 million. Shave off the sell-on clause; say take four million off.
Give the rest to the manager along with his starting £10 million and all of a sudden we’re talking real money and a real prospect of doing the job right.
But let’s go one further; let’s assume we don’t get all the starting £10 million. We’re still talking about the £20 million between that and Eddie which is more money than a Celtic manager has started out with to spend in a long, long time. It’s not all that’s in the kitty though.
Because assume Ajer goes as well, and assume we can get around £10 million for him. The interest is there and it’s real. That would give us our £30 million even without the full starting chunk from the season tickets and the assumed European income.
Christie is going to go. Assume we can get £8 million minimum for him; that, in my view, would be a rock bottom rate, so it’s not unrealistic. That puts us nearly on £40 million. Rogic will bring in £3 million or thereabouts. Bitton perhaps £1 million.
These are they guys we know are going to go, and that’s before we contemplate the unthinkable sale of Callum McGregor which would eclipse all else in terms of what we bring in. We may also decide to cut our losses on Barkas and/or Ajeti.
It’s a fortune. It’s real money. It’s massive money.
It’s more than enough to do this job and to do this job right.
The doom mongers are making out that we’re facing a disaster … but that might be not be the case.
Even if we get piss poor money for Eddie – £15 million – and we can realise an eight figure sum for Ajer, and the £8 million for Christie … it might be enough.
And there are other possibilities too. Imagine Moussa Dembele gets his permanent deal. We’re due a chunk of that. Imagine – and it’s not even unlikely – that Arsenal gets a show-stopper offer for Kieran … that could easily happen with his stock rising fast.
This could add hitherto undreamed of sums to that which is already possible.
I am more worried about the timing than I am about the number.
If we move our backsides and get someone in and start the ball rolling on who’s going we can start building up the pot for the spending spree that we need to put us back on top.
That job can’t start until the big issues are decided … so don’t worry about the resources at all. They will be there if we do the other stuff right. It’s the other stuff we should be concerned with.