Bristol City boss clarifies transfer stance on Celtic-linked Antoine Semenyo

By David Walton

May 17, 2022

Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson has stated that Celtic-linked Antoine Semenyo will be “expensive” this summer but admitted he wouldn’t stand in the way of an acceptable offer.

Semenyo has reportedly already been scouted by the Hoops this season [Bristol World]. The player’s agent then came out and stated that Gavin Strachan had enquired about him too [Football Scotland].

However, Semenyo’s contract is reportedly set to be extended until the summer of 2024 [Bristol World]. This would give the Championship side protection from lowball offers when the transfer window opens up this summer.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

It’s been reported in the past that City could demand as much as £20m for the player [Bristol World]. And Pearson has addressed speculation surrounding his future in an interview with BBC Radio Bristol:

“I don’t spend too much time worrying about that. I think we will, in time, have decisions to make on him but hopefully, he’ll be here this year. Would I stand in his way of going to top a Premier League side? Absolutely not. But it would have to be the right deal for us, as a team.

“As a football club, the financial offset for losing someone like Antoine is going to be considerable and people need to be aware of that.

“We don’t want to be a selling club, we want to keep our best player, of course we do, but the reality of where we are is there are times when that stance will be stretched and it will be questioned, and what we have to do is make the right decision for us as a football club. We’ll have a better chance of succeeding next year if Antoine is here. But if he goes somewhere he’s going to be expensive for somebody.”

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Antoine Semenyo figure would need to be lower than £20m for Celtic move

Semenyo has plenty of positive attributes that he’s shown throughout his 8-goal campaign this season [Transfermarkt]. He can hold the ball up, has good aerial threat, and appears to have crisp movement in and around the penalty box.

The problem here is the transfer fee being bandied around. If Bristol do indeed want as much as £20m then it rules us out. Even with UCL qualification in the bank, we wouldn’t be open to going near that figure. We would have to hope that a sum of that size is just wild speculation.

We also know for certain that we’re going to have 2 extremely talented strikers at the club next season. Kyogo Furuhashi and Giorgos Giakoumakis will be rotated throughout the campaign. And even though it’s vital Celtic improve their third option – Semenyo would be too pricey for that role as things stand.

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

It’s not unlikely that Celtic go hunting for another frontman this summer. Semenyo is the kind of player you can see fitting the bill here too. But Pearson labelling him “expensive” sounds a touch ominous, especially for the kind of fees Championship players are now going for.

A player is, at the end of the day, only worth what a club is willing to pay for them. It remains to be seen if the striker himself will be pushing for a move – something that could help drive down any potential fee.

But at the moment, Bristol City hold the cards with this one. We’ll see how this pans out as the summer rolls along.

In other news, Report: Schalke now struggling to afford Ko Itakura after claiming Celtic wanted him