One thing is certain as this summer goes on; the number of players we’re linked with and who are connected, in some way, to The City Group will be extensive. On the surface of it, this makes a kind of sense. Ange is from there. Mark Lawwell is from there. Ange praises the knowledge Lawwell has of the markets. It would not be surprising to see it utilised.
Yet it’s also without a doubt that this gives a lot of the hacks an excuse not to think too critically about transfer rumours.
The easiest story to get started will be one involving these so-called connections.
That’s why we should take some of them with a pinch of salt.
The current one is a beauty, because it involves three things; a player linked with us last season, a player from the City Group and a player who plays for Japan. If you were looking for something that ticked all the boxes for a hack wanting to write a story without the least bit of substance to it, this is the sort you’d be crying out for.
Ko Itakura was “linked” to Celtic in the summer, but chose to go to Germany on loan. There is no proof whatsoever that this was anything other than a rumour. He performed well for Schalke, but it was in Germany’s second tier. They are supposed to have turned up their nose at the £6 million cost of acquiring him on a permanent basis.
I get that there seems, on the surface of it, a lot to credit this story, but those are exactly the reasons why it might be wise to have doubts. It is a lazy journalist’s wet dream, much as the Solbakken story was and is. That was based on his having played well against us in a couple of games; there really was very little to that rumour other than that.
Another rumour, tonight, links us to another City Group player, Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Although 20, he actually has a near-perfect pedigree.
He has played for City at every level including eight matches for the first team. He has also had three fruitful loan spells, two in the Championship with Blackburn and Stoke and another at Belgian giants Anderlecht.
Not bad for a player that age; he ticks the boxes and then some.
These are good stories for filling papers and for generating hits on blogs. But I am always reluctant to publish a transfer story based on nothing more than speculation and that, really, is all we have here. Speculation, based on connections which may or may not be central to the transfer plans that this club has over the summer, and personally, I think we need to cast the net a lot wider than simply relying on the Lawwell contacts book.
Part of our success this season was that the manager had his own ideas, and they have invariably proved to be good ones. The system at Celtic seems to be working, and that’s to the credit of everyone involved … we need to keep it working.
Exploiting connections and prior knowledge is, of course, an excellent idea and if Mark Lawwell and the manager think either of these guys can do us a job –and as I said, the English defender has the right pedigree and profile – then we should be going all in to get deals done.
But be suspicious of a press which simply throws names in the air based on the Lawwell-City link. Most of them aren’t going to be worth the papers they are printed in.
May 25, 2022 at 8:18 pm
Like you James, I leave those speculation articles well alone most of the time. I had to read your thoughts on that topic as there’s been plenty of them over the last week or so.
I feel the club will bring in another 5/6 players giving options in all positions, that’s now minimum requirement for a CL season.
Goalkeeper, two centre backs, a striker, holding midfielder and an attacking midfielder too.
Those are the positions that most Celtic fans would agree need extra cover…
We shall see soon enough, for I think they’ll be brought in early, to integrate into the squad.
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