Celtic Face Bigger Summer Crisis Than Ibrox: An Exclusive By Keith Jackass
Celtic fans, who have been eagerly anticipating a chaotic summer at Ibrox, will tonight be shocked to learn that their own club is about to be plunged into a major crisis with potentially more than a dozen players set to leave, giving Ange Postecoglou a headache over how he’s going to replace them.
Barkas, Hazard, Welsh, Scales, Urhoghide, Ideguchi, McCarthy, Shaw, Soro and Ajeti are all set to present the manager with dilemmas with none expecting to be at the club when the summer window closes.
This will leave the club desperately short of backup for their backup players, potentially provoking a crisis should more than eight players be out injured at any one time.
Other possible departures include Starfelt, Turnbull, Abada, Maeda, O’Riley, Hatate and Kyogo all expected to be the subject of bids. This would further reduce Postecoglou’s options to the point where he may have to throw players such as Iwata, Forrest and Oh straight into the starting eleven.
If the board limits his spending, he might have to rely on free transfers and loan deals to fill out the squad for their bid to keep the Ibrox boss at bay.
All of this pre-supposes that Postecoglou will even be at Celtic Park in the first place; he will have offers in the summer and Celtic are relying on the lure of Champions League football being enough to keep him at the club. But it might not be.
A neutral panel of BBC journalists including Derek Ferguson, Kenny Miller, Lee McCulloch, Alan Hutton and Charlie Miller all agreed that Celtic faces a major crisis if all these players and the manager depart over the course of one window.
“It could push Celtic back to the Lou Macari days,” McCulloch said, which Neil McCann and John Brown vigorously agreed with.
“It’s what their fans deserve,” said Graeme Souness, a sentiment which was echoed by Alex Rae who added “This should be keeping their fans up at night.”
A vote of the panellists found that 97% were in favour of this scenario.
The Ibrox boss, in the meantime, will have the opportunity to re-shape his squad in his own image and there is likely to be plenty of money for him to spend, particularly if he can convince Kyle Fox and the Americans to give the club money without getting shares in return or seats on the board.
An Ibrox insider told me last night, “Let’s face it, we convince mugs to part with their money all the time. Why should the Americans be any different?”
A former Ibrox director, currently based in South Africa, told me “Celtic are set to lose a dozen players in the coming summer and yet your paper never writes about it. They are facing an enormous rebuilding of their B-team and yet all the focus is on Morelos and Kent leaving. There are clearly too many Celtic fans employed on your publication.”
We reached out to a Celtic director for comment, and only one, called Peter, was willing to return our calls. Far from seeming downhearted, he was positively thrilled by the prospect.
“Some of these people should never have been on the wage bill in the first place,” he said. “I will be glad when all the mistakes of the past have been cleaned up. Well, except for me.”
Ange Postecoglou listened patiently to my question, hung up the phone and called his lawyer.