Coming Together Nicely
Yesterday’s news of Jota’s permanent signing for Celtic certainly came as welcome news for us all. It may have been the worst kept secret in football,but unless that contract has everyone’s name on it and every t crossed and i dotted,there are still too many things that can go wrong.
As we know only too well,we have seen it all before.
I’m glad he has a fairly convenient nickname,for his Sunday name of João Pedro Neves Filipe is a bit of a mouthful. And it would take a bit of doing to fit on the back of a jersey too. I still smile at the convolutions the designers had to go through to fit Vennegor of Hesselink onto one a few years back. Thankfully,he was a bit of a size,so they had something to work with.
Jota was a revelation last season,living up with us to the reputation he had earned at Benfica as a wonder kid. He struggled to make an impact at his parent club,and manager Bruno Lage-now at Wolves,so rule them out as a future interested club!-quickly cast him aside. Farmed out on loan to Valladolid in Spain,he found himself struggling for form as his team battled unsuccessfully against relegation. Hardly the place for a winger barely out of his teens to make an impact!
You’ll gather from the above that Celtic actually took a bit of a leap in the dark by signing him on loan last season. There was little in his three years previously to recommend him to us. But someone at our club has clearly done their homework here,and praise is certainly due.
Joining us at the end of the summer window,he fairly exploded onto the scene-and into the hearts and minds of the fans! This was certainly helped by his late goal at Aberdeen a month later,one which brought us our first away league victory of the season. And his partnership with Kyogo-who can forget THAT pass?-helped us power up the table as we approached Christmas. He seemed to go off the boil when Kyogo was injured,and indeed picked up an injury himself at around the same time. And in truth,he took a bit of time to settle back in from that setback.
Then Kyogo returned,and so too did the Jota we had grown to love. Coincidence? I think not.
We have a player now who feels that he has found his happy place,one where he is loved by the fans,and has the appreciation and respect of his colleagues and of his manager. He also has the security of a five year contract-as do we,of course-and I think that is of prime importance to a young man who could certainly be forgiven for fretting about his future only a year ago. I think we are going to see some envious eyes cast his way in the near future,and I hope he will remember the dark days of not so long ago when it comes to making decisions about that.
I’ve got a feeling that he will.
So now that we have our three former loanees signed up permanently,along with a challenger for Greg Taylor’s position at left back and a back-up keeper,we are really only in the market for a left sided centre half and that elusive defensive mid of quality. Given the general excellence of CCV and Starfelt,especially as the season wore on and they got more used to the partnership,it is fair to say that a left-sided centre half will be unlikely to be a first pick. Will a player with ambition be likely to accept that,or will he,as it should be,accept that as a challenge? We certainly shouldn’t be in the market for a player who is quite happy to warm the bench-we have enough of them already,thank you!-and I don’t think AP will be happy if we do. Watch this space.
Ideguchi was certainly signed with that central midfield role in mind,and after an unhappy experience at Leeds will not be happy to be sidelined again by the arrival of someone to take the place that he has yet-thanks to Alloa-managed to make his own. He has been very unlucky with us so far-though he hasn’t actually had much in the way of luck at all in Europe-and will want to make an impact with us. He looks to me like the type who is hell-bent on being a success,you don’t battle back from a cruciate injury if you are a shrinking violet. In this case,I doubt that we will make a signing,and will simply chop and change if necessary while giving Gucci his chance.
So,overall? One more signing for the left sided centre half,and that’s about it. Yes,our transfer business is virtually done by the first day in July! And done in a way that has most of the fans very happy indeed. As is the manager,who clearly knew that the Jota business was a done deal. I wonder why we didn’t consider going down this road all those wasted years ago?
Above article by BMCUWP