Yesterday, or rather late last night, Jota completed his move to Saudi Arabia.
So he has the opportunity to make obscene sums of money. It’s all he’ll have. I suspect he won’t enjoy living there, and playing there will put him further away from the summit of football than he’s ever been in his career. I know now what his hosts are getting out of it; all this spending is an effort to secure a World Cup. Unless he takes up Saudi nationality he won’t be in it.
Celtic also got an obscene sum of money of course, but it’s really only obscene if you’re a supporter of the club across the city, some of whom are screaming blue murder about this being a conspiracy of some kind. Yeah, let’s not forget that Lawwell was over in Istanbul recently for a Champions League Final and meeting with the money from City; they aren’t Saudis but in the Sevco mind who really cares about minor distinctions like that?
To the rest of us, those wired to reality, I can only suggest that people find and read Anthony Haggarty’s article from last year where he predicted that Jota would be the player who shattered the Tierney transfer record. To those of us who watched the Portuguese player strutting his stuff it was pretty self-evident that he would eventually net us a fortune.
I, personally, don’t believe he’s worth that kind of money but then I don’t believe any footballer is really worth £200,000 a week and a £25 million fee … but the market dictates that, not some blogger in Glasgow, and the market says I’m wrong and Tony is right. It says that this is what you pay for a 24 year old winger who was, until this barmy move, on the cusp of the Portuguese national team. When you say it like that it’s not as crazy as it initially sounds.
Ibrox fans can flap about it in denial, but they either start accepting that we’re good at this, at this player spotting malarkey, and they’re really not or they start adjusting themselves to some hard facts of life. They refused, point blank, to accept the evidence of what was staring them in the face, which is that our team has fantastic footballers and theirs … doesn’t.
For ages they have feasted on the banquet of bullshit put out by such mind-numbing sites as Transfermarkt.com and the lunatic “valuations” it puts on players in this country. Someone on Twitter reminded me of this absolute masterpiece last night.
You know what’s funniest about that, except for Kent leaving on a free and Morelos still without a club after doing the same? And it’s not even Jota and his £11 million “worth” vis-à-vis that list, and it’s not that Kyogo’s not on it or that Hatate is absent whilst John Lundstram is there, or even that Cameron Carter Vickers didn’t get on ahead of Goldson.
No, to me the truly hilarious thing about that graphic is right at the bottom of it; Ianis Hagi, valued at the same as Liel Abada, with a £7 million price tag on him.
And that number alone would be hilarious in light of what we just got for Jota, because we heard no end of utter guff about how good this guy was when he signed for their club, and how much profit they would make from him … I think they really did believe the famous second name would weave magic.
It would certainly have weaved more magic than the player himself did.
Celtic fans have found vindication already this summer in our assessment of our team as having vastly more value in it than theirs, and every time they tell themselves that we’re just lucky or that our players are over-rated they prepare themselves for another fall. Their entire summer is spent already getting excited over freebies … three months from now I think they’ll probably conclude what some of us already have; Celtic spends big and buys quality, they root around in the bargain bin and get utter dross. You get what you pay for.
And we can spend the big bucks and they cannot. They are locked into a cycle of short-term fixes for long term problems and they cannot break themselves out of it.
Not one of their players will fetch a high seven figure sum far less an eight figure one. When I said the other day that the Jota fee could be more than they would get for their entire squad one guy on Twitter took me task for valuing their squad that highly, and I laughed because I don’t, and outside of the nutters at Transfermarkt.com nobody does.
Hagi, though, was the Great White Hype of Ibrox for a long time, and yet the most their club was ever allegedly offered for him was a paltry £6 million … and although it’s not a huge sum, no-one believed that then or now any more than we ever believed that Kent was worth more than mid seven figures or that clubs all over Europe wanted him and Morelos.
The one Ibrox player who they signed and then sold at a huge profit has been so utterly deficient in quality that Ajax are ready to sell him at a multi-million pound loss after just one season … that’s Ibrox’s sterling transfer record and that move, in the first place, came so out of left field for anyone who’d watched him that we simply couldn’t believe it.
We’ve been vindicated, in full, on that one as well. I even wrote this time last year when that deal was still just a rumour that it was “the sort of transfer that gets managers the sack.” Which it did, with him lasting only until January before the axe fell.
But for Hagi, and those who hyped him, this has been a truly humbling week as he watches Jota depart for that huge fee and into that life-changing salary whilst he flounders at Ibrox, no longer part of the first team plan, or simply just one of the last remaining players they can flog and get a few quid for. A few quid. Not £25 million plus add-ons.
What’s his current valuation? According to the press and the Ibrox fan sites they’d let him go for £3.5 million. We might get more than that in a single sell-on clause for a player we’re already made a mint from should Jeremie Frimpong make the move everyone expects him to this summer. Ibrox is selling one of their crown jewels for a lowly sum, and it’s worse than just that they’re making a loss on this guy they expected to net a fortune for.
According to the media, they are desperate to move him off the wage bill and bring in a transfer fee of any sort that they would accept a deal in such staggered payments that one of the interested parties was rumoured to be … Aberdeen.
That story was quickly trampled on by an incredulous Scottish media, but I got the best laugh out of that in this whole week because it’s perfect, isn’t it?
It’s the perfect humiliation, the perfect summing up of their transfer policy next to ours and where ours works and theirs simply does not. Our media is great at hyping up players over there … but the judgements of those who actually watch footballers for a living don’t ever gel with what our desperate hacks clearly believe, and they certainly do not tally with the “wisdom” of the Ibrox fan forums.
This is why we’re streets ahead of them. This is why a guy like Tony Haggarty can write an article that their mad-cap fans scorned and why he’s sitting this morning with a smile on his face and Ibrox’s boardroom is stunned by Celtic’s windfall and putting ever greater pressure on those who work at the club to deliver something similar.
They don’t even know where to start.