Amir Rrahmani says he turned Celtic down to sign for Napoli in January
Napoli centre-back Amir Rrahmani has stated that he turned down offers from both Celtic and Standard Liege to move to Naples back in January.
Rrahmani signed for his new club in a deal worth €14million (£12.5m) back in the new year from Hellas Verona (Football Italia). However, despite the exciting move, the Kosovo international has yet to make his debut after the global health pandemic struck.
Rrahmani has been sitting on the bench since the new Serie A campaign began, and has been selected in nine out of 10 matchday squads for the Italian heavyweights.
He’s been discussing his hopes of kicking on in Naples, but also revealed that he had an offer to join Neil Lennon’s Celtic before he made the switch to a domestic rival.
As quoted by Il Mattino, Rrahmani said: “The club has invested in me since they bought me, their idea was to sell Kalidou Koulibaly but the coronavirus upset everything and things went as they went”
“I have been told that I am an important part of the team and I believe that the moment will come very soon. I had offers from Celtic and Standard Liege, but in the end I signed for Napoli. It was the most important step of my life.”
Celtic didn’t sign a centre-back in January
It’s difficult to envision Celtic splashing out as much as £12.5m on a centre-back whatsoever, nevermind in the middle of a season. If that’s how much Rrahmani cost Napoli, then Celtic’s history suggests they would’ve balked at the fee.
Remember, Celtic’s current record transfer fee is the £9m we spent to secure Odsonne Edouard from PSG (Sky Sports). To go beyond that for a centre-back doesn’t fit the club’s model whatsoever.
Unless of course Verona were happy to sell for less to a foreign club as opposed to a domestic rival. But even if that was the case, the fact we didn’t move to sign a centre-back in January tells its own story.
Celtic already had Christopher Jullien, Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton, and Hatem Elhamed available for the two centre-back slots. Stephen Welsh was also available from the youth set-up.
Regardless, Rrahmani looks the part on paper. Despite not having yet featured for Napoli, he impressed in his 37 appearances from Verona. That came after he won two Croatian titles with Dinamo Zagreb. Rrahmani also had Europa League experience with Zagreb too and is currently the captain of Kosovo (Transfermarkt).
In the end, Celtic signed Shane Duffy on loan from Brighton in the summer to try and solve any centre-back issues.