Dealing With The Legacy
Sometime in the first round of SPL fixtures early next season,we will be visiting the bigotdome for the third time in a row. As I said yesterday,we need to get a win on Sunday for various reasons,but the main one is that anything less just isn’t good enough for me. I want a result that wipes the smirk off their faces faster than a St Johnstone keeper going up for a last minute corner.
While there are no certainties in life,and definitely not in football,I think it’s fair to say that the team that lines up there in the autumn will be vastly different from the one at the weekend. A number of our better players over the last few seasons will not be with us any longer,and while it may also be fair to say that they won’t be much missed if based on this season’s performances,if we are honest they have been very good players for us in their time and will be difficult to replace.
Again,I have to point out the massive rebuild that is required throughout the club,but the most important rebuild-the one that exercises the fans the most-is on just who we will have available to play for us next season! The oul’ rumour mill has recently begun to crank up,but mainly on the departures. It looks likely that Barkas will be allowed to leave on loan,for starters. I don’t have a problem with that,as while his CV tells us that he is a very good keeper,he has had serious problems settling in a new country while having to deal with language problems and restrictions on his liberty. You can’t settle in to a new place if you are effectively under house arrest,after all,and I hope he comes back ready to show his worth for us.
I would say that I’d give him a pass for his failure to settle,based on the above-but he’d probably let it go under his foot…
Ntcham will be lucky to find a club based on his time with us and also in Marseilles. I think that might work in our favour,as I believe he will realise that he has to get a very good season indeed under his belt to get a decent contract anywhere. The chances are that we will need someone who can do what he can,we are likely to be short of bodies after all,but we will lose him on a free as a result. I’m not the type to bear a grudge-lightly. I’d tell him to find a new club,and if he can’t then simply not play him next season.
Tell me I’m wrong…
Christie? His problem is that when he signed his new contract in 2018,it was based on his value to us at the time. But at the time,he had done nothing for us. He then played a blinder for about a year,got ideas above his station and threw a strop because he couldn’t get a move last summer. His agent will have had some heavy editing to do to make him look attractive to any buyers,and he’ll be lucky to end up at Burnley or Fulham. Jullien probably falls into the same category as Christie and Ntcham,except that his contract doesn’t expire next year. On top of which,he is injured until late this year and will have work to do to get a move next summer. And then we have all the loanees going back,not to mention the Griff problem.
There are though two of our players who are attracting interest and continue to do so. And we should get in a decent amount for them to assist with the cost of the rebuild. One,of course,is Kris Ajer-though I doubt he will have been too impressed to read about the interest from Norwich City earlier this week. Especially not when he has probably been learning Italian,based on the reported offer from Milan last season! There is one small problem here,and it was highlighted over the last ten days or so with the attempt to set up a European Super League-both of the giants in Milan are skint!
Now,that may not be too big an obstacle for Kris as he may think that the reported £10-15m fee Celtic want is fairly achievable,even in those circumstances,and it may even be that he views this as a good thing-that if he improves as he expects to,Milan will cash in and let him move to a bigger club. Of all our wantaways,I’d wish him the best,as he has been the only one not to have downed tools. And I think I’d rather move to Milan than Norwich too.
Which brings us back to Eddie. Unbelievably,it was reported yesterday that he had turned down an offer from Liverpool,but was high on the target list of Arsenal! Ask Charlie Nicholas about that,son. Oh,wait-don’t bother cos you’ll never understand a word he says. Apparently Eddie really fancies Milan too,but this time with Inter. And while Inter have the same poverty trap problem as their neighbours AC,they also intend to sell Lukaku this summer. He seems to have been around for ever,but he will have only just turned 28 and he has a phenomenal strike rate of a goal every two games. In addition to which,of course,he leads the line for probably the world’s No 1 rated international team.
They will expect around the same amount as Spurs will for Kane,who is the same age and has a similar scoring rate. That’s about £100m. Either team could easily decide that paying Celtic a quarter of that for a player five years younger-who also scores a goal every two games-is well worth it. And they will likely only have to pay about a quarter of the wages too,at least on his first contract. Eddie will certainly be hoping that is the case,and I suspect that so too will Celtic.
So,if you look at the above,I reckon that we can probably expect around £40m in fees to support the rebuild. It’s not what we expected in say March last year when we were expecting those players to go that summer anyway. But the pandemic has not been kind to very many of us,and we have to expect that. If you add in the loss of Broonie and all of our departing loanees,plus the loss of Jullien due to injury,£40m isn’t going to cover it.
This rebuild is likely to cost us all of that plus our reserves of c£30m,plus any Business Interruption Insurance payout. Nice one,Peter. You’ve effectively left us potless and playerless,and playing catch up with our hated foes. That’s quite an epitaph and quite a legacy.
Above article by BMCUWP