Over the weekend, a couple of people drew my attention to articles which suggested that Celtic has not offered Rocco Vata a new contract.
I am largely indifferent to whether they have or not.
There are two possible reasons for not offering Vata a new deal that I can think of, and which make sense even in this insane world; if he’s very obviously not going to sign one or if Celtic’s coaching team does not think that he’s good enough to get one.
I know people who swear blind that he is good enough. That leaves only the first possibility. That something has happened behind the scenes which has convinced Celtic that offering him a new deal would be a futile act and that he wouldn’t sign it anyway.
It doesn’t really matter which of these two scenarios is correct. Vata does not have a future at Celtic Park, and that, at least, is crystal clear. If he was willing to sign a deal and the club thought he was good enough to get one it would be in front of him right now, awaiting his signature. We do not idly throw away players who can make an impact.
Whatever else you might say of people at Celtic, they are not insane. If Rocco Vata is the player some people think he is, he’s a potential multi-million-pound asset and no club, not even ours, simply cuts them loose. That’s why I refuse to lose my mind over this. I long ago accepted that he wasn’t going to stay. If he was, he’d already be in the first team squad.
I feel bad for the club and for the player both. I think he’s probably getting some pretty dreadful advice from people around him. Enough bad advice that the club knows it would be wasting its time trying to get him to change his mind.
Talk about interest from Italy isn’t doing anything to change his mind either; if that interest is real, you can maybe understand it. But you don’t know if it’s real or not, only that his head has been turned somewhere, by something. Which is why I feel bad for us, because we know we’re letting a seven-figure asset walk away for virtually nothing.
The thing is, I’m resigned to it now. I have been for a while. So, whether or not he’s got a contract offer sitting in front of him, or whether the club has not offered him one for whatever reasons there are, a parting of the ways is inevitable, and I’ve accepted it. Celtic will lose out. I believe that Rocco Vata will lose out too, although it might not be immediately obvious to him.
I know that really scunners a lot of our fans, and it will strengthen the view that some in the media have that we do not offer a pathway to first team football for our players, but as I’ve said before it is not true because it would be mad to allow players capable of first team football to depart for free, even as we spend money on youth from elsewhere.
Something has gone badly wrong with this kid and the club, and whatever it is there’s likely no way back. He is free to talk to other teams in a few short weeks and he almost certainly will, and he will set something up for the end of his contract … unless we move to sell him before then, and that might well be part of the plan. It might be the only plan.