The clock is ticking down on certain people’s time at the club. We all know that it is. We all know that before long some folk who are at Parkhead at the moment will not be. We all know that some people are going to be sold because they want to be and others are going to be sold whether they want to be or not. There are a lot of balls up in the air.
The latest rumours suggest that there’s interest in Stephen Welsh. He’s either part of Brendan Rodgers’ plans or he isn’t. If he isn’t he’s wasted sitting on our bench, and if the offer is right then it might be time to move him on.
Getting £3 million for a player who won’t feature … Ibrox can only dream about that.
But every decision we make carries risks. Our signing the Australian lad is probably good transfer business, but as another player who’ll be eligible for, and playing in, the Asian Cup it highlights the problems I’ve already raised in relation to that.
We could leave ourselves really short of personnel for a month, and that’s something that has to be focussing minds inside the club. But there’s another issue too, of course, and one of the mainstream titles flagged it today. We need to think about Europe.
A European squad is 25 players. Eight of them have to be home-grown, with four produced by the club. That leaves only 17 spots for others.
Taking Welsh out of the club removes an experienced player from the ranks of the eight, and more critically, one of the four club produced players of whom there really are only five who’ve got that experience; Forrest, McGregor, Ralston, Welsh and Mikey Johnston. Of the other four we have Greg Taylor, Scott Bain, David Turnbull and James McCarthy. Adam Montgomery is out on loan; is he remotely ready for that sort of promotion?
Looking at those players, ask yourself how many of them will even be in the squad every week? Is David Turnbull a guy with a future at Celtic at this point? McCarthy is going, Bain isn’t a number one in his life, no offence to him … there’s a good chance we’ll be bringing in a keeper and if we’re keeping our boy Hart then who is likely to go?
This presents us with a real dilemma both about Europe and about the Asian Cup. It’s not just the players we bring in, it’s the ones we let go too. And there’s not an easy solution to either of these problems, and in particular the eight home grown players rule … there has never been a time when there wasn’t at least one player developed in Scotland who looked like the kind of player who would enhance our squad in the medium term.
That’s a real issue and it’s one we can’t do anything about. The only other solution is to produce our own answer to this … and that has to be something we’re thinking about.