And so it seems that the Korean saga is over.
We are never going to know what happened with Cho Gue-Sung.
We know our club was interested, and we know that there were talks.
We’d have made him a life-changing offer. It would have been good business for us and for him.
It seems logical that he was our target, but after the World Cup it was always going to be a difficult deal to pull off. If you believe reports in Asia, he had his heart set on Germany, Mainz had been in for him long before the Finals and he wanted to go there and play.
I’d say that it will be interesting to see where he ends up.
But only if I actually cared, beyond his arriving at Parkhead.
Since he won’t, I don’t think I’m under any obligation to bother what happens to him next or whether or not this is a choice he’ll regret.
I do know that we can’t waste a single moment more on it. We have two strikers at Celtic, and one of them has a foot out the door. If we’re licking our wounds we’re not purposefully heading towards the next objective; replacing Giakoumakis.
For the record, I don’t believe that Giakoumakis will go before we’ve got someone else in. It would be an act of utter folly to allow that, even if for a short time.
Even if Giakoumakis is behaving like a sulking child behind the scenes, he’s on a long term deal here and there is no real imperative for us to sell him at this time.
So doing so before his replacement is here, thus weakening our squad without cause, would raise questions about why our strategy has shifted from one where we prepare in advance to suddenly being on reactive mode again.
Because let’s be honest, unless we’re far down the line with negotiations for an alternative – and I mean to the point where the deal is all the way done, agreed in principle and with some pretty strong assurances that it’s settled – this is a risk without much upside to it. There are two weeks to go in the notorious January window, a tough time to do business in many ways, and our need would be advertised to all and sundry.
I have to believe we’re making progress elsewhere, because it would be entirely out of character for Ange to agree to anything which subjected us to this kind of risk. I think there’s at least one positive sign that this is the case.
Crucially, one of the claims to emerge this morning is that Cho Gue-Sung didn’t feel sufficiently wanted by Celtic; apparently we weren’t guaranteeing that he’d start.
No-one gets that guarantee at Celtic Park and if that’s a deal breaker then so be it. But another part of the claim was that he and his club were miffed that we had contacted other agents and other clubs about other players there and beyond.
In my view it would have been a very stupid club which didn’t do that, a very stupid club not to have contingency plans in place and more than one target on their list, so I really can’t understand why that’s either a surprise to them or something to put them off, especially as we were also taking a big risk in going for a player from such a backwater … and it is a backwater, we’re not talking the J League here.
Almost every club over there is run by the government, and most are made up of soldiers doing two year terms … that’s a fact.
So too is this; one door has closed. As I said in the piece about Ange this morning, he has a Stoic’s outlook, which means he will reflect on the opportunity that is afforded by the closing of that door. It means that another one opens somewhere and when we moved for Riley McGree last January and that didn’t turn on we went for Matt O’Riley instead.
You could argue that it was one of the reasons we won the title. So we have to think of this the same way. By his decision to stay at his current club Cho Gue-Sung has already demonstrated his unsuitability for Celtic.
Our own forward motion is now all that matters.