Ange wants to get shot of everyone who isn’t committed to the cause, but at every club every manager at some point has to deal with a player who no-one wants, who doesn’t want to be there but who they can’t move off the wage bill.
In the case of Celtic, there may be more than one of them. Ange will have little time for non-triers, but players who have one last chance at career rehabilitation might well be convinced to dig in and play for the moves they really want.
One of those players is Olivier Ntcham.
His move to France has collapsed. AEK Athens only want him if they can have him for free.
Why should Celtic agree to that?
He’s worth a transfer fee and we should get one for him if at all possible.
But I’ve argued on this site before that Ntcham, if he realises what’s at stake and is willing to work, is worth more to us for one more year than releasing him for some nominal sum just to get him off the wage bill.
We could have gotten £8 million for this guy not that long ago; releasing him on a free or for some paltry six figure fee should be regarded as a non-starter.
I don’t want us to try to hang onto Edouard or Ajer or Christie, not when there is likely to be good money on the table for them.
If reports that we could get as much as £5 million for Christie are true, I consider that a triumph. The other two will command eight figures. None of the non-triers or want away players should be retained beyond this window if that is at all possible.
But Ntcham has always been a special case, an asset which has depreciated to the point where he’s virtually worthless.
If he had no talent at all and was unable to offer something I would support the tearing up of his contract and would applaud Celtic for doing it. Because sometimes you just need to cut your losses. His winning goal in Rome paid his transfer fee as far as I’m concerned; he’s justified the act of buying him in the first place.
But that goal is only one of a number of moments which convinces me that he’s a much, much better footballer than the lazy sod who’s lack of motivation have collapsed his standing in the game. Ntcham, for a modest seven figure fee, should have clubs lining up for him. He must know that he’s blowing it, that he’s shredding his own potential.
If Postecoglou looks at him and concludes that he can get a tune out of the player, then I want him to stay for that final year.
Let’s squeeze the last morsel of value out of the guy before he departs for pastures new.
If he’s sufficiently motivated to save himself and do a job for us at the same time, then I have no doubt that he’ll give us more than whatever sum we’d get for him right now.