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Celtic Have Not Sought The Sale Of O’Riley. If Madrid Don’t Want To Pay, That’s Fine.

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Yesterday, The Daily Record delivered some “bad news” for our fans. They “broke the story” that Atletico Madrid are resistant to paying the alleged £33 million we want for Matt O’Riley. The highest they will go is £25 million. What a quandary we’re in here, right?

By the way, everything I am about to write hinges on two very big presumptions; first, that the media actually has some idea what bid we’d consider too good to turn down, and second, that they actually know what’s going on at another club in another country when as far as I’m aware they have not got the first clue what Celtic’s transfer plans are right here at home.

It all seems a bit far fetched to me. I don’t think they have the first clue what Celtic would accept, far less that we’ve turned a bid down. I don’t think they have any idea what we’re doing behind the scenes, and I certainly don’t believe they can write with any confidence about what is happening at Atletico Madrid. I think this whole thing stinks.

Still, assume it’s true. Assume we really have assumed this shattering blow.

Let’s see if I’ve really got this straight; we can accept a bid that is only 25 times what we paid for the player, or we can … keep the best midfielder in the league for another crack at the Champions League. I’ve got that right, yeah?

God, how are we going to sleep at night with this hanging over us?

This isn’t even a dilemma for us.

Celtic is not actively looking to sell the player. That’s what a lot in the media appear to be forgetting here. Matt O’Riley will be at Celtic as long as he has to be. The policy of the club – one I by the way do not entirely agree with – is that if we get an offer we deem acceptable is to tell the player this and let the player decide what happens next.

I would prefer we fought a little harder to hang onto our best footballers, but the club dresses this up as a moral choice and I guess part of me has to accept that. We cannot stand in the way of people who want to go out and provide for their families, so as long as the offer meets our internal valuation of the player we will leave it up to them.

But we do not go out and offer our players around to the highest bidder like stolen property we don’t want to be caught with. Let me repeat what I said a moment ago; we have not sought the sale of Matt O’Riley or anyone else the manager considers a first team player at this club. We might be willing to do business if the price is right … that’s not the same thing.

If you asked Rodgers if he wants the player to stay here, he’d say yes. You know how we know that? Because he’s been asked the question a hundred times, and his answer is always the same. In a perfect situation, yes, but the club might not be the ones to make that decision. If O’Riley and his agent start haggling for a move, he’ll go for sure and Celtic will reap an immense profit from the sale. But nothing here is certain, and we’re not shopping him around.

The Record report quotes The Newcastle Chronicle which claims their local heroes are interested. And what does the paragraph actually say? “It is noted that Brendan Rodgers does not want to lose the midfielder but “interest in the player is increasing.””

Maybe The Record thinks the relevant part of that report is “interest in the player is increasing.” I tend to think the part that matters is the part about the boss not wanting him to leave, and that’s the point that’s going to be really important in this as long as he can convince the player to hang on at Celtic for just one more season, and a crack at the Champions League.

I know that Rodgers wonders how much he would get of any transfer jackpot here, and he doubtless wonders what he could buy with the money. But the ball is very much in our court here and if this story has any truth in at all, then Atletico are welcome to take their money somewhere else if they think there are better prospects out there.

And they may well be right. That’s the risk they have to take.

What we know is that O’Riley is on a long-term deal which he signed just last year, and unless there is a minimum release clause in there – and if there was then none of these reports would matter a damn – we know that we’re not even risking a depreciating asset. O’Riley has improved steadily over time and under Rodgers, and with some fresh faces around him and as part of a stronger Celtic side he is only going to improve … which means his value is only going to grow.

It’s becoming a cliché for me to say how chilled I am about this window so far. Certainly, we’re not going to get bent out of shape over something like this. Madrid don’t want to meet our minimum acceptable fee? Well, there’s a reason we set it so high and it’s not that we’re playing the daft Ibrox game of over-valuing our footballers … we do not need to sell him and the manager does not want to. That’s why we’ve set the value so high.

The media can have its fun with this story, but we’ve not exactly suffered a devastating blow here. There isn’t one of us who would prefer to see O’Riley leave than stay. We all know what he brings to this team, and we can imagine what he might yet do.

As long as he’s here I’m going to treasure every minute of him. When he goes he will make us a fantastical sum of money. This is the definition of a no-lose situation, no matter how some of the more desperate hacks want to make it into one.

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  • Tony B says:

    You’d get more sense and accurate info from The Beano than the Rectum, and its readers are more intelligent than the gullibillies who believe the shite from Keech Jacshun et al.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Ha Ha – more sense out The Beano than The Rectum… What a Dandy comment indeed Tony !

      To add to it – You’d probably get more sense outta The ‘Rangers’ (Sevco) View – Or Whatever their club weekly mag is called – than you would from The Daily Rectum as ya call it…

      That The Sevco Huns pay 80p a day (or whatever it costs for that rag) and that they’ll blindly buy it daily for the feelgood fairy stories of course will probably mean that they’ll struggle to afford The ‘Rangers’ (Sevco) View…

      That is if their as of today – 11 years and 326 day old club – can afford to pay the publisher of course…

      Because they couldn’t pay the face painter…

      NEVER let em’ forget that either !!!

  • Clara says:

    Of course the Daily Record don’t rate him as a 30m + player because he’s not a battle hardened, navy seal who’s dead balls can bring down enemy helicopters and while doing all that still manages to score 3 goals in 5 seasons.

    Only sports media in the World who don’t want to see talented players stay in their leagues ( unless it one club), enough said.

  • Johnny Green says:

    The player himself has made no noises to suggest he wants to leave the club and, the same as every player who has had a part to play in our most recent successes, Matt loves the club, he loves the crack and he is living the dream for as long as it lasts. He, also like everyone else, will be relishing a crack at the Champions League in its new format and it will take a helluva an offer to entice him away from Celtic this season. The press can play their evil little speculative games as is their won’t, but Matt is in a good place and I’m sure he wholeheartedly appreciates that fact. The ball is first and fore mostly at Matt’s feet, he will decide his future and Celtic will back him up in whatever he decides. Let’s all hope he stays for the ride for at least one more glorious season.

    • Brattbakk says:

      It’s also worth remembering he was talking up Brendan when everyone was miserable about Ange going, even when we weren’t playing well O’Riley kept saying how highly he rated Rodgers so he might go to benefit his career but staying another year won’t hurt him and I doubt he’ll be unhappy about it.

    • DannyGal says:

      Well said Johnny!

  • Kevin Lee says:

    Why are we waiting what is going on at Celtic they have known Heart was leaving ages ago and still they are looking at overage and cheap bargain basement keepers

  • Roonsa says:

    I want next season’s squad to be built round Matt O’Riley. But let’s be realistic. The board have proved time and time again that they are quite happy to sell off our top assets. Although, on the other hand, the profit margin on the numbers getting bandied about is ridiculous. If the money is used to improve the squad properly then fair enough.

    If he goes, he goes. We will prevail, we usually do (at domestic level). We can always use the money to snap up Riley McGree who seems to think playing for Middlesbrough is a better career move than playing for Celtic. Maybe big Matt can put him right on that one ….

    … oh yeah. He already has!

  • harold shand says:

    If he played for them the record would be doing articles with ex huns every 3 days saying accept no less than £30m

  • Frank Connelly says:

    I understood that Newcastle might be sailing close to the wind re FFP rules.

  • Jim M says:

    So the daily rectum wrote this story with concrete proof that they’ve somehow got this from Athletico,s hierarchy, utter pish , that mob couldn’t find there arse with 2 pairs of hands, like a rectum, producing shite on a daily basis, nae wonder sales are falling, cloud cuckoo land right enough.

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