This morning I said that the signing of our new midfielder was not a loan. A few hours later a statement from Rubin Kazan seemed to contradict that. Actually, I found that statement bizarre and a little disengaged from reality. It raises more questions than it answers.
Let’s start with the obvious one; they are saying the player will return there in a year. Will he? Has someone told him that? Did his social media post of last night suggest that he has any interest at all in returning to the club? He is done there, whether he ends up at Celtic in the long term or not. I get what they are doing, but I also know they see the writing on the wall.
His contract is “frozen” for a year and so he’s been allowed to go and play somewhere else for the duration of it. A month ago he and his legal team were analysing the cost of buying out the remainder of the deal; it was going to cost over £1 million. That story has a ways still to run. He certainly has no interest in returning to Russia.
Kazan’s belief that he will return seems predicated on two things and I would not put money on either of them. The first is that the player will not succeed in getting out of the last year of his deal(and maybe it will involve us paying a modest fee) and the second is that the political situation, and the one facing their teams, will be markedly different next summer.
And that’s wildly unrealistic. It is more than possible that they are in the first year of a multi-year ban and their clubs just at the start of a long period of outside the mainstream. There will almost certainly still be Russian soldiers in Ukraine next summer. There will almost certainly be a raft of international sanctions still in place.
Even if neither of those things is true, will their clubs have the financial muscle to turn down even token bids for their players? I don’t know, but I suspect we’ll find out long before the length of this deal is actually up. In fact, the biggest risk seems, to me, that the player himself might do so well at Celtic than he has other offers before next summer comes around.
But Rubin Kazan’s statement today is more about managing the mood of their own fans than it is about engaging with the reality of this situation, which is that he is not going to return there regardless of what they want him to do.
To negate that risk – and provided he performs well – we should make them a modest offer in January and resolve this thing to the satisfaction of all. When it becomes obvious how little has changed by then I think they’ll be in the right frame of mind to deal.
One way or another, they are going to have to.