The Record has up its latest “crisis” story about our club today, speculating that the Jota deal “is in doubt” because officials at Benfica have twigged that he’s a better player than they were at first aware, and that they’ve made a big mistake in including a £6 million release clause in the loan deal with Celtic.
They quote a source over there who claims that Benfica are “hopeful” that the player will return there when his loan spell is up, and turn down a move to Parkhead.
This is an absolute non-story, and the Portuguese side of it, at least, reeks of a desperate attempt by Benfica to appease their own furious supporters, who are enraged at the stupidity of the release clause and the prospect of losing a top young player for such a fee.
The truth is that nothing whatsoever has changed in this scenario.
Jota is a Celtic player until at least the end of the season, and if he is keen on making that a permanent move then that is what will happen and there is nothing that anyone can do about it, not at Benfica and not at The Daily Record.
The move is not “in doubt” any more than it was on the day the loan deal was signed with that clause in it.
Nobody at Celtic doubts that Jota might decide to explore other options.
But before he can do that, Celtic will submit an offer to Benfica which matches what is in that clause, and that will give us the opportunity to make our case directly to the player.
At that point it’s up to him if he signs a permanent deal or doesn’t.
I know this much, he would be mad to go back to Portugal and a club which has never trusted him up until now, in spite of his having come through their own academy system.
And I know too that Celtic will survive whatever decision he makes.
That £6 million fee … well, it’s a lot of money and I am certain that Ange Postecoglou – who’s judgement on players has thus far been absolutely first-rate – will find a good use for it.
This is what’s supposed to knock us off our stride, a bit of in-house firefighting at a club in another country.
The Record laps it up of course because it gives them a “Celtic suffer shocking blow” story although the shocking blow is as hypothetical as the one about us having as many as six players missing for the 2 February game.
Has this happened yet? No.
Is it worth our time and effort worrying about it until it does? No, which is why Celtic won’t.
Honestly, that paper’s coverage is becoming increasingly panic-stricken.
They are desperate to find any negative they can, and if none exist they’ll happily manufacture one.