The news that we’re offering Kyogo a new deal is one of those “danger versus opportunity” moments for the club, and I don’t think there’s the slightest doubt about that. If he signs it then great, and we can look forward to at least two more years of him.
If he doesn’t sign it then we have a significant problem and a choice to make.
And that choice is this; do we sell him this summer?
Here’s another question, a better question; do we have to sell him this summer?
By this time next year, Kyogo will be 29. His value goes down with every year closer to 30, and the nearer to the end of his current contract, he gets. That’s a hard way of looking at things, but this club has to be hard about this stuff.
We look across the city and see that they lost two key footballers this summer precisely because they didn’t sell at the right moment. It’s why they are scrambling about looking for bargains.
We lost out on a big fee for Boyata; that shouldn’t happen again.
If Kyogo signs a new deal we’ll all be pretty delighted about it, that’s obvious. But if he doesn’t, then we really will have a decision to make. We can hold him to his current contract and get one more year out of him; that’s the optimal scenario if we’re keeping him. He has to go next summer if he doesn’t go in this one, and we’ll get a lot less.
So it seems to me, and others may disagree, that if he doesn’t sign a new deal the only question we have to answer is when he gets sold. In this window, or next summer? To realise the maximum value for him you’d think it would be the former … but if the manager wants his goals for the next year then we may just stick with him a while longer.
The player will play a role in the decision. His turning down a new deal wouldn’t necessarily mean that he was banging on the door wanting a transfer; the word is that Abada turned down his at the end of the first campaign and we kept him through this one.
So it’s not an all or nothing proposition, but we got Giakoumakis and Juranovic out the door rapidly because they were in the same sort of age bracket as Kyogo and we felt, right or wrong, that it was the optimal window to move them on … I think we got much less than they were worth, but those inside Celtic would ask what would we have got if we were selling right now, and there’s no way to answer that question … so it’s a risk, as it was a risk in January.
I said a few weeks ago though that there is a better player out there than Kyogo, within our price range, scoring goals in some league or other and we only have to find that player. It’s true of every player in our squad, which is why, although I am thoroughly pissed off about the rampant greed in this sport and the excuses people trot out to justify it, I welcome the sale of Jota for a sum that boggles the mind and could only have come from those with more money than sense.
Two years ago he was a Benfica reserve.
He’s spent those two years in the SPFL, and if clubs in that football backwater want to throw tens of millions of pounds at us to take him off our hands, then our club has a responsibility to accept it, give the manager the money and let us move on. The former manager told us this was in the offing, and as I said on this site I had heard anyway that Jota wasn’t for staying beyond this summer … he and his agents had made their minds up on that and in spite of our best efforts we couldn’t change it.
What did I say last week? Celtic endures. Always. We will no matter which players come and go during this window, and whilst I love Jota and Kyogo and wanted to see them star again on the Champions League stage, I’m pretty ambivalent about losing people this summer, mostly because I expected it to happen anyway and a new manager is entitled to sign his own players and get his own ideas across, and the previous boss has no claim on our football identity.
Rodgers, I think, is a good manager to be making the case to these guys. He has a history of making players better, and he can make Kyogo and Abada and others in the squad better … Kyogo talks about the “unfinished business” of the Champions League, and that’s good as far as it goes. But we’ve learned to be wary of hearing only what we want to.
That we’re making him an offer – and it’ll be a good offer, I daresay – should end any this stupid talk of a Celtic board which wants to asset strip the team. It isn’t true. We’d have kept Jota had he been willing to stay, just as we’ll keep Abada if he is … and if Kyogo signs a deal we’ll have him for the next two years and maybe longer, and probably get a minimal fee.
But it will be worth it if he gets us the goals that win this title and puts us in next year’s changed, and more lucrative Champions League … and that’s the real decision we’ll have to make, the real choice we’ll have to weigh up, whilst ultimately recognising that any player who wants to go and is adamant about that is a problem we don’t need.
I’m all for enforcing some measure of commitment and loyalty … and I think it should be a condition when players sign here that they give us a bare minimum of service. But once a player (or his agent) has made their mind up to go then that can create all sorts of issues for the club and for the team … and we’re in a good place right now and should avoid that where we can.
This is a big, and complex decision … and I am glad that it’s Rodgers and not Ange Postecoglou making it with his “we can’t stand in a player’s way if he wants to leave and earn more money” outlook, which can now be seen as a little self-serving.
Rodgers is much more likely to put his foot down … but if even he thinks this is the right moment to sell then he won’t, because ultimately it’s his budget a wrong decision will mess with.
I think the next few weeks will decide the matter one way or the other.
Neither outcome – his staying or going – will surprise me at this point.
If he chooses to sign a new deal we’ll have the answer. If not, the club will make a decision … obviously one contributory factor in this will be whether or not there’s interest, and at the right price.
And whilst we think about that, we ought to recognise that if a £25 million bid for him comes in that he will go, and the people at our club will not so much hold the door open for him but they’ll drive him to the airport themselves.
Comments are closed for the next week, with my apologies.