The transfer window has been open for 15 days. Celtic has secured the signing of Carter Vickers and a free deal for the keeper Siegrist. But the manager was clear many months ago that he wanted his new players – not just a stand-in goalkeeper – to be with the squad when the pre-season training got underway. At this moment in time, he doesn’t have that.
In fact, Celtic will enter pre-season training on Monday weaker than we were when the last campaign came to a close. There is no deal yet for Jota. The Bernabei deal is on the verge of being done, but at the time of writing it isn’t done yet.
If Ange is being honest with himself, he’ll be a little bit frustrated by the glacial slow progress. Don’t be surprised if he expresses that. This is not a man for keeping silent when he thinks those around him are not pulling their weight.
In spite of what you might hear elsewhere, transfer business is not a complicated thing. Reaching agreement between two clubs is easy. Personal terms can be complicated somewhat by players and agents wanting to check out other options, but in the case of these guys they want to play for Celtic and it’s all about getting the deals over the line.
The days of playing transfer poker should be over with at this club. Lawwell was dreadful at it, and especially in the latter part of his tenure when we failed to secure major deals for players on a regular basis. Ange had to stick the current incumbents with a cattle prod last summer; will he be forced to do it again this year?
There is a difference between the fans being frustrated and the man at the helm being frustrated. We can all bitch and moan and it makes no difference to the functioning of the club. If the boss is unhappy that’s big. If he’s satisfied with the pace of negotiations, then nobody has anything to worry about. But that man wanted progress quicker than this.
Look, I don’t want to seem on a downer against our club. But we do take an eternity to get this stuff done at times.
Whilst none of us doubts, at all, that our two left-sided signings will be made, and under normal circumstances – based on the club’s situation in not having to play qualifiers – there would be plenty of time to do our business, I assumed, even based on the evidence of history, that our club would learn, at some point, how to do this stuff better.
January was nearly perfect in terms of how swiftly we moved and with what purpose.
None of our targets is wanted by an elite club, so that ought to take some of the difficulty out of the process, and I don’t buy, either, the necessity of holding off on signing the Argentine until he has served his ban. So he’ll miss a couple of league games at the start of the season; big deal. That’s a secondary consideration to getting him in, introducing him to the players and the squad and being on the plane when the team jets off for Austria.
It’s not impossible that we could announce something today or tomorrow, although I’ve never really known deals like this to be done during on a Saturday or Sunday when there were no games on, and the SFA is in mothballs for the summer.
So most probably now we’re waiting until Monday, until training actually resumes … ladies and gents, it’s going to be a long (and a little bit frustrating) weekened.
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