Tonight Bologna have said no to Celtic’s £4 million offer for former Hearts full-back Aaron Hickey.
That ought to be the end of that particular pursuit. The kid is talented and would enhance the squad and there’s no doubt of it. If the bid had been accepted I wouldn’t even question it. But we should get into a lengthy bidding war for a player we’ll not get.
We simply don’t have the time for it. Move on, Celtic, and pursue other options.
In the event that Bologna relents, or we submit a fresh bid, quickly, that they accept, I’ll be pleased enough but there will be one major reservation, and one major bone of contention. If he’s so highly rated inside Celtic Park why did we let him go last season when he was available for less than half the sum we’ve apparently bid this week?
Nothing would sum up the madness of our transfer policy before now more than paying £4 million plus for a guy we liked enough not to have paid £1.5 million for last season. This is another triumph of the bean counters, another Lawwell masterstroke that has gone badly awry.
You cannot view it any other way. This guy is clearly beloved by the Celtic Park scouting team, and the previous management team liked him and Ange has seen and heard enough to rate him as well. Yet not only was this guy available for a pittance last season, but he was actually a former Celtic youth player who the geniuses at Lennoxtown also let get away.
I think Hickey has proven himself a really good footballer. He’s trended up. He’s played at a higher level now than the SPL, and thus would be less a “project” signing than he would have been last year. Still, that’s not an excuse. When Italian Serie A clubs were sniffing around this guy that should maybe have been the sign that he had something.
But the purse managers at Parkhead decided that the football manager wasn’t going to be the final arbiter on that one, which is why we’re where we are now, so convinced of his talent we’re willing to pay more than twice what we could have had him for.
Peter, your legacy is not a static thing. It grows every day.
Though not, I suspect, in the way you would have hoped for.
More on that later in the week.