When James asked me to write for this site a couple of years back, I didn’t know what it was that I was going to do on it. “Transfer rumours,” he said to me. “But pretty much anything you like.”
I liked the idea of writing about transfer rumours. It never dawned on me that it might become a head-pounding, soul-sapping chart on where Celtic consistently goes wrong.
I’ve been busier, of late, than I’d have liked to be, which means that I’ve not had time to cover every story. But there have been so many of them that if I had 28 hours in a day and plenty of them to spare I couldn’t possibly have kept up.
One thing is obvious; we’re taking way too long to get stuff done and that’s because with the departure of Lawwell and Hammond and others we’ve somehow contrived to become even more dysfunctional and even more chaotic in the way we do things.
When it comes to signing the players the manager needs now, Celtic’s board basically has two options; it either tells Ange to start adapting to the idea that he might get lesser footballers than he wants or it starts taking seriously the task of getting the players he’s made a priority.
The beauty – if I might use that word – of both options is a speeded up process. The downsides of a board forcing its own options on the manager hardly needs to be spelled out.
The worry I think we all share is that the club resorts to that just to give the appearance of forward momentum.
That Ange might not feel the need to start any of them, leaving us with a “squad” full of players who the manager sees as not even an option, is obvious, but it simply re-treads ground we’ve gone over before.
How impressed were Lennon and Rodgers by some of their “possibilities”?
I need only name Bayo, Shved, Klimala and Soro to give you the basic idea.
We need to get real here and stop pissing about.
Today’s reports have us talking to several different players and thinking over a handful of others. Nowhere is there the suggestion that we might be on the brink of getting some over the line.
First, some suggest that we’re talking to Spurs about a bunch of loan deals, at least one of which isn’t going to happen because the player wants his future sorted out once and for all.
So we either pay the money for Cameron-Vickers and bring him to Parkhead on a permanent deal or we move on. One of those options has to be decided upon, because otherwise we’re continuing to waste time when so much of it has already gotten away from us.
Even when a deal seems “nearly there”, we have a tendency to mess about.
How many deals which were apparently over the line stall at the last minute with us?
The deal for the Antwerp right back Aurelio Buta was said to be imminent, but someone at the club held off on that one, presumably to see if we went through in the Champions League. Is that deal dead? It is certainly not progressing.
Serious questions need to be asked about why things like this continue to happen.
Negotiations – at whichever stage – with Joe Hart are stalled because we don’t want to pay a transfer fee. That’s the report.
So that basically boils it down to a question; is he being looked at as squad filler, or as a first choice? Because if he’s a first choice aren’t we kidding ourselves on when we tell Spurs that we’re not willing to offer a modest sum for him?
It’s an insult to both the club and the player, that we’d haggle over a few quid. If he’s not good enough to pay a fee for why are we wasting our time on the deal?
Our club is not learning the lessons of the past.
If these are the manager’s priority footballers, then they should be signed as soon as possible and not left hanging. Apart from anything else, it makes us look wholly unprofessional and mercenary, and it will make it harder to get people to trust us in future.
Our reputation must be taking a battering on the back of this.
What kind of club do we look like to players and agents and other teams right now? One that is difficult to deal with. One that drags out the transfer process. One that leaves people out on a limb.
John McGinn moved to Villa not because he has some great affection for their club over ours, but because they made him feel wanted whereas we just presumed his loyalty. Ivan Toney was brought to the training ground and given the guided tour, but we delayed and delayed and delayed until he and his agents were in no mood to wait any longer.
Starfelt, at his presser the other day, said that the deal with Celtic was effectively done some weeks ago; why then, for God’s sake, did we wait so long to finalise it?
Why did we wait until Ajer was gone before we announced the deal?
What if the Ajer move had collapsed?
Would this guy still be waiting in Russia whilst we looked for a cheaper option?
God, it’s so amateurish and pathetic.
Even as I’m writing this, a new name appears; Liam Scales, from the League of Ireland, 22 years old and a centre back. Does that answer the riddle I posed above?
Will the club either get real about getting the manager his targets, or tell him who he’s to settle for?
How many times do you reckon Big Ange watched him whilst he was managing in Japan?
Is this the level we need to beat AZ Alkmaar, or is this, at last, the club showing signs of ambition consummate with its stature?
Because this is a UEFA Conference League signing target if ever there was one, the ultimate expression of life in the slow lane, where this board seems to want us.
The Rumour Guy is a Celtic fan and blogger from Glasgow.