The story today about how we will have to “compete” with Burnley for the signing of the Manchester City player Taylor Harwood-Bellis is ridiculous in several ways.
It comes from The Sun, which right away tells you it’s probably garbage.
Let’s start with this; we still don’t know for sure that Celtic is genuinely interested in this guy, although I have to be honest he ticks the boxes and has a nearly perfect pedigree. The City Group link cannot be ignored here; Lawwell Jnr will have the inside track on this guy and what the club expects him to achieve in the game.
I would hope we don’t see it as a loan deal unless it is one with the option to buy. Regardless; it is one of those transfer stories which just makes sense, although we shouldn’t assume that is true just because the pieces seem to fit together.
Still, I do believe that there is something in this story.
Our interest is probably real. If it is and if City are willing to do business we should be looking to close the deal as quick as possible. But the idea that we should be in a battle with Burnley is daft.
Burnley have just been relegated. There is already talk that they will have to make major, major cuts to their budgets in order to prepare for life in a lower league. They will be aware, acutely and horribly aware, of how many EPL sides drop into the Championship and then suffer another quick relegation. They shouldn’t be at the races here.
We can offer a title race. Champions League football and the exposure that goes with that. People around him will be urging him to go to Celtic, and especially those at City who value the club’s relationship and want to see their players be the best they can be.
If Burnley offer him crazy money – and they might well – and he chooses that then he’s not the sort of player Ange wants anyway.
The manager will be able to sniff that out during negotiations, and so if those get underway and reach a serious place you can conclude that things are probably going well and that a deal is close to being struck.
If it comes to a straight shoot-out between the two clubs, we are overwhelming favourites to win it. The problem might be other clubs who are interested … all the more reason why, if the stories are true, we should be trying to tie it up quickly.