As Celtic prepares for Europe without further signings (so far) the possibility of having to play some of the want-away players looms large. There’s a chance that it will be necessary and we shouldn’t kid ourselves on that score.
It’s far from perfect, but we deal in reality here.
If these players are still at Parkhead come that game, are we better with them in the squad or outside of it? With Edouard and Ajer that seems like a no-brainer. If they are willing to give us 100% then we’re better off with them.
Christie is more debatable.
Few would argue that we should start Ntcham either way, at the expense of McGregor, Soro or Turnbull.
But all could play a role. We’d be crazy not to acknowledge it.
The manager needs to know how committed they are before he selects them.
It’s time for a full and frank conversation with each of them, and that conversation has to start with him asking them one very big question; “Will you give me a year?”
Look, there’s a chance that none of these guys is going to get the move they want and then we’re all stuck with each other.
Far better if each of them committed to the club for 12 months unless their specific valuation is mate, and the best way for the club and those players to assure that is for the players themselves to sign extended deals with a minimum release clause.
That way, all of them will get a wage bump and the knowledge that the club is protected.
Each will know that if his valuation is met – and that can be sorted beforehand, so everyone is satisfied – that they will be allowed to leave come what may.
I know this; Celtic isn’t going to let go any of these guys on the cheap.
There’s a £45 million Champions League jackpot up for grabs on the other side of this season, and we have to balance that against accepting some paltry sum for each player.
What’s winning this title back worth to us?
What’s it worth to these footballers?
What’s it worth to the club itself?
Ange needs to find out. He needs to find out whether these players are willing to show some loyalty to Celtic by letting us realise their proper market value, and at the same time let them know that the alternative might be staying until their contracts run down.
He said already that he will not let anyone use Celtic for their own ends; with all respect to these guys, that’s what they are presently doing.
It’s time that he told them all that it’s not on, that we’ll decide their futures … and maybe for the next 12 months in the cases of Ajer, Ntcham and Edouard. Christie can talk to whoever he likes, but until January he belongs to us.
Why not have them all sign extended deals that protect everyone involved?
By the time January comes around, who knows where we all might be?