The news tonight – if it is actually news and not just more speculation – that we are on the brink of securing the signing of Luis Palma is probably the best we’ve had since the window opened. From everything I’ve been led to believe, this is a signing of quality, one to get bums off seats, one who elevates the current level of the squad.
Would I have swapped him for Jota? I have no idea. I think Jota’s game was weaker than some others do, and I didn’t think he was worth the money we got for him, so if Palma comes in and scores a lot of goals and creates a lot of them, I’ll be more than satisfied with the deal. He will have to prove it like any other player in the side … but this one seems genuinely exciting.
I wrote yesterday about the Ibrox fan-sites which are denying what we all know to be true; he was a target of theirs early in the window, and they fully expected the deal to be done. They liked him a lot, everything they heard about him. They watched all the YouTube clips and thought they were about to sign a next level player. Now they pretend they weren’t.
It amuses me. It’s the kind of signing you would have been a little concerned by over there, one that ticks the boxes for someone who can come into their team, make a real difference whilst he’s there and then get sold on for a big profit because he’s only 24. Who wouldn’t want a star player who can change games right now, and make you mega-money later?
I love that they are denying interest in him. If this guy does the business for us, you watch how swiftly they turn on their manager and those above him in the club for allowing him to get away. This could be a signing that we’re talking about for years and that they are looking back on with bitterness and regret and most importantly, recriminations.
For Celtic, it comes near the end of a summer window when we’ve had a lot of those. This will not answer all of our questions – far less the one that goes “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” – but it’s a good bit of business and it is going to make our team better, and that’s what we’ve been waiting for, that’s what we’ve been hoping to see.
There is still plenty of business to do. We need to get in a central defender on a short-term deal. We need to get in a left back. I think we need a striker; we’ll see if we one now that we’ve got Oh returning to fitness. But we absolutely do need a battling, hard central midfielder and I will be shocked if we do not get a deal for one done.
Still, this will be an excellent deal if indeed we’re on the brink of getting it over the line. I am a little bit unimpressed that we haven’t done it in time for this weekend; are we really going to throw a bunch of untested players in at Ibrox? Then I remember that Alaistair Johnston was thrown right in a year ago and performed brilliantly … so maybe we are.
What an irony it would be if Palma did start that game and set up a couple of goals. Even more ironic, and hilarious, would be if he came on late and won the match for us. The script is written for him. He can make himself an instant hero. If he signs.
This is more like it Celtic. More of the same in the next seven days.