Ange Postecoglou sat in front of the media today and delivered a very clear response to weeks of media speculation on players leaving Celtic.
“It is pretty much the same,” he said. “As I said, Michael is dealing with all that stuff and, as we sit right here, nobody is leaving or coming. There is always going to be speculation around the place but from our perspective at this moment there is nothing definite happening.”
You would think that would put this to bed.
Of course, it will not. Which brings me to my point, and one particular part of this raging debate.
If the idea of Celtic letting Giakoumakis go for £3 million and Juranovic for not much more doesn’t appear to make a whole lot of sense, then the explanation being offered for what might lie behind that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either.
From Celtic bloggers to mainstream journalists, the operating theory that these guys had release clauses in their deals is now widespread. But I don’t believe it for a minute. Note that none of these people know what the situation is and none of them are claiming that they do; this is a theory, one that seems to explain why Celtic would accept such low fees.
Perhaps they won’t. The idea that either player is close to leaving has just been shot down by no less a person that the boss himself. That suggests that there is more going on than is in the mainstream press at the moment.
So, let’s think about the release clause theory for a moment.
For openers, if there were release clauses this matter would right now be out of our hands and both of those players would be somewhere else. The window has been open for 17 days. There are two weeks of it left, but they would hardly matter. Those interested parties could activate those clauses right now and we wouldn’t be able to hold onto these guys one minute longer.
That alone should shoot holes in this barmy theory.
Secondly, assume that Celtic is capable of making a mistake or being forced into an error. Assume that we are capable of agreeing to one staggeringly low release valuation because we were desperate to get someone in. That’s more likely to be Giakoumakis than Juranovic, because he was signed on the final day. But both of them?
Does it seem credible, at all, that we would have let that happen?
I don’t think it would happen once far less twice. We signed Giakoumakis from Holland, where he was top scorer in the league. That would normally get a player a move to a top European club. Even if we were inserting a clause, even at his behest, it would not be as low as that. Nobody at Celtic would have agreed to such a low-ball number and his agents would never have demanded it. Because it cheapens the player as well as the club.
With our record of selling players on for a profit, we could have gotten a clause worth two or three times that, easily, without breaking a sweat. No club which is putting in a minimum release for a player it had confidence in would have set it only £500,000 higher than the fee they paid for the player in the first place. It’s crazy, it makes no sense.
Of course, selling him for a fee like that makes no sense anyway … if, indeed, that’s what the club is trying to do here. But as someone pointed out earlier, there could be various things happening that we don’t know about and which have nothing to do with what’s in the contracts.
There could be personal stuff going on behind the scenes, reasons why Giakoumakis doesn’t want to stay at Celtic or even in Scotland. How do we know? We live in a complicated world where anything that can happen does happen.
How much do we know about his personal life? His life outside of Celtic Park? About as much as we’re entitled to, and if the answer lies there then we’re never going to get it and we don’t need to know anyway.
Instead of theorising that Celtic are acting rashly, what if they are actually acting with understanding and compassion about a man’s problems and need to deal with them away from Glasgow? We don’t have a clear picture and that tends to be replaced with speculation … and amidst speculation rumours grow and theories spring up.
This particular one just makes no sense at all. Celtic is not a club run by stupid people. The one thing we know about these guys from days gone by is that they do business much smarter than this.
They do business in a way that doesn’t leave us open to being scalped in the fashion that these reports have suggested here.