The Podence, Fraser And Tierney Stories Are Celtic Transfer Window Classics.

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All sorts of people can claim to be “in the know” when they’re not, but all sorts of things go on behind the scenes at football clubs, and sometimes people who are in positions of responsibility or in receipt of knowledge leak like a sieve. This is how stories emerge from nowhere to suddenly dominate the news cycle in the first place.

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “Those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know.” It may be true within the principles of Taoism, and in the modern internet age there are always people who want to appear smart whether they do know or not, but it’s beyond doubt that some of these people do have valuable information.

Others are throwing darts at a board.

I make a point of not immediately trusting any of it.

Most “in the knows” get their information from the same places as we do; scouring every little internet rumour and trying to assemble a picture from a confused mass of information, some of it plainly contradictory and some of it obviously without merit at all.

Rumours come from everywhere, and nowhere.

Look at the Kieren Tierney story, which has surfaced, gone under, resurfaced, gone under and resurfaced again over and over during this summer.

What’s the truth?

That Tierney has admitted he’d like to return to Celtic one day and that Rodgers has said “never say never” when talking about the prospect. But Rodgers also said it would be extremely hard to do, and probably well outside of our reach as a club.

So, what’s really going on?

If I had to guess, I’d say that Celtic is watching the situation with Tierney with great interest.

Much of it is out of our hands. If a major club comes in for him and offers Arsenal a big fee and Tierney a great salary and the promise of games, then the show’s over. If Tierney is still there with 24 hours of the window to go, and no club is willing to meet Arsenal’s fee and there’s a chance that they might let him go out on loan for a season … watch this space.

That doesn’t mean that I think such a move would be a good idea. I’m not comfortable with loan deals. But he’s home produced, we know he’s class and that he could do a job if he stays fit. I think if there’s anything in the stories that’s what it’s going to come down to; a last day move, to bring him in on loan, if Arsenal has exhausted its other options.

The in-the-knows trade back and forth “information” on Tierney just as they have with Ryan Fraser and now it’s Podence making the headlines. The media loves this, and they love to put words in Rodgers’ mouth, and wonder when he’s going to spend the kind of money they want us to think he said he would … but which words never came out of his mouth.

Rodgers likes Tierney, the player is seriously pissed off at Arsenal and if we had the money to make it happen a deal might have been pursued already. The word is “might.” To the best of our knowledge Celtic has never submitted a bid. Beyond that, everything is guesswork although the scenario I outlined above seems like a reasonable shot in the dark.

Daniel Podence is the current story which is doing the rounds.

One Twitter feed, whose owner claims to be an in the know about the dealings of his own club, Wolves, claims he’s going to be signing for us soon for £8.5 million.

Now, this guy is not followed by major numbers of people (just over 100 in fact) but he has been consistently tweeting Wolves stories for ages now and if you’re basing his “success rate” on the number of predictions he’s made which have come off then you’re talking about something much higher than that of the McGowan’s of this world.

And yet, would a true “in the know” have such a small number of followers?

And how does he make these predictions?

If I had started a Twitter feed this summer and wanted to look smart, I might have called the Yang and Kwon deals a few days before they were official, the Lagerbiekle deal as “done” last week after Starfelt finalised his move and be talking right now about our “interest” in other players. I may even have thrown in the Tierney prediction above.

But nothing that I put up on that Twitter feed would have come from insider knowledge. All the information that would have led me to those conclusions was already in the public domain, from multiple sources, many of them outside of Scotland.

I’ve often wondered if that’s what the likes of Romano actually do; in short, I wonder if these guys really know anything from the insiders at all, or whether they are just outstanding researchers who scour the internet floor for every scrap of info they can find, and from there simply extrapolate. That’s not a negative take on them … that takes a tremendous effort, and their rate of return on the info is pretty good at times. But it’s not the same as “knowing stuff.”

There is a danger when you go sniffing out information online and it’s this; if you come to it from a place where you’re looking for the facts you want, you can convince yourself that you’ve found them.

That’s how mistakes are made in this game.

I would love for us to sign Podence. If I went looking for anything on how likely it is, I could find myself down a rabbit hole chasing not facts but confirmation of what I hope for, and if I published that people might come to the entirely wrong conclusion.

I don’t want to do that. So as I did a moment ago with Tierney, let’s ask ourselves what do we actually know here?

And the answer is, that we now have multiple sources telling us that Celtic definitely likes the guy, that he’s very much “on the radar” and that the stumbling block will be the transfer fee (and the wages, but there are ways around that as I pointed out in the piece about Fraser.)

Here’s why I could easily swallow this, on such shaky evidence.

When I initially wrote about Podence I said that at £6 million he was a goer, at £8 million you might fancy taking the chance, at £10 million you were probably stretching it a bit and pushing your luck and at £12 million a manager who sanctioned that would be playing with his job if it all went disastrously wrong.

I still don’t think there is any way we’ll pay an eight figure fee.

But £8.5 million falls squarely into that grey area where I thought that something could be done, and where the deal makes a lot of sense if you’re keeping the guy for three or four years. Let’s be honest, if he can get us a rate of return similar to Jota’s then he’s worth the money just by virtue of getting us to the title and into the Champions League.

That makes me even warier of crawling out on the limb. I want to believe it. I won’t submit to that feeling, and I certainly won’t let it push me towards a conclusion. If the “in the knows” are right the guy is on the list. It doesn’t matter to me how they came by that info, as long as it checks out, and if it comes off nobody will be happier than me.

There’s also still plenty of chatter about Ryan Fraser.

Do I believe any of that?

Again, I’d like to think we’re going for a player like that, who ticks the “home grown” boxes, plays where we need a footballer and has the experience at the top level which leaves no doubt that he can handle the pressures of a club like ours. It all makes sense.

But again, my support for that doesn’t make it true.

We can all remember the great Transfer Window Stories of yesteryear.

Remember Roman Riquelme?

Christ, that one stalked us for a half dozen of them.

James McCarthy was a story in every window for years until we finally pulled the trigger.

This season’s early stories surrounded Ardon Jashari, who played for Luzen (who Hibs beat over two legs) and Fabien Rieder who we were allegedly planning to break the Scottish transfer record for.

And who knows? We might still go for one of them.

But the talk on those has quietened down to not even a whisper.

They are amongst the great tales of this summer.

But Tierney will be the one this window is remembered for, I think, him and Fraser and Podence and a fevered spell when even Eric Dier was thrown into the mix. It’s been insane.

From the transfer stories which have seized us to the brilliance of that spell before the manager was officially appointed, and people were tracking aircraft online and joining the dots plotting the movements of Dermot Desmond and the CEO, I have gone through every conceivable emotion from finger-biting impatience to frustration about the negative tone of some of the comments from our fans … I am just about ready to be done with this window.

It’s been different from most that I’ve written about, because I generally don’t.

I even brought in a friend of mine to take up some of the slack and do it for me, but he’s had a busy summer and for his own reasons hasn’t been able to. So in I’ve jumped … and I’ll be happy when it closes and we can all get back to just watching the football again.

But I have to admit, I will also miss this in some ways.

Because the fun never stops, and there’s always a story doing the rounds.

I do miss Roman Riquelme.

I wonder what he’s doing now? (He’s the Vice President at Boca Juniors; I love the internet!) I wonder why he never signed for us? I wonder how close it came? Or if it was even something we pursued.

We’ll never know, I guess.

But we will get answers on Podence, Fraser and, yes, Kieran Tierney.

These stories will run their course, and in the next 13 days we’ll know the truth.

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  • Johnno says:

    What has tended to go unnoticed during this window is just how much work has already been put into the future alongside the present.
    Very pleasing to see Rodgers looking at long term especially with the younger players upon our books.
    Believe the wage structure could well have been increased with the offer of better contracts, so far easier to keep hold of key players, or will cost a club far bigger money in a fee to take them away from ourselves.
    So brilliant business already achieved this window, yet hasn’t gained the credit it deserves, due to the demands of big name signings?
    Find it staggering how so many within our support, still lack the faith in the process involved?
    Just to recap and jog a few memories, last season we had to rely upon 2 loan signings to make up a CL squad.
    Including them 2, another 5 have left the club, and would be amazed if macarthy ever wears the jersey again for ourselves.
    So overall 8 changes from the CL squad last season to where we are now.
    In that time since, already 10 have been added to our squad, and don’t believe we are finished yet either.
    So already we have strong competition for a place within the CL squad for this season and potentially a few stand to miss out already and all without the marquee signing so many are looking for?
    The overall squad is already bulked up, which needed to happen with injuries having a toll upon us even though they never cost us really cost us in the end.
    So many issues have been resolved already within this celtic squad, yet a fair level of discontent still?
    Now there could be an argument made of the 10 replacements for last season CL squad, is not as strong as the 8 that was within it?
    Is that really true?
    I fail to see how when I don’t believe we are even finished yet with the work already been undertaken by the club at this time within a season?
    Still fully trust the process involved, with great work already been achieved, and all together it should transfer onto the pitch to keep intact the success that has club has achieved, and very strongly in recent times also.

  • SSMPM says:

    With our recent CB acquisition I reckon any talk of Dier is a non starter though he has proven in the past to be a sound player.
    Can’t see the sense in a serial injury acquisition such as Fraser, no offence meant to the fella
    So that for me leaves Podence and like you I would really welcome that sort of talent but aye it’s probably down to the price and wage structure.
    BTW Dick you’re exactly what your name says. HH

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