Nir Bitton’s contract is running out at the end of the season, and speculation over his future is already underway.
On Sunday, the Scottish Sun reported that Burnley were preparing to line-up a £1million offer for the Israeli. But the report also states that Neil Lennon is keen on keeping him in Glasgow.
Bitton has also already opened up on his feelings regarding his future. Speaking in the Celtic View (Volume 55, Issue 16, Page 13), the midfielder confirmed his own desire to stay at Parkhead for as long as he could.
Therefore, with a potentially insulting £1m offer coming our way in January, Celtic should look to tie Bitton down immediately.
Yes, he’s fighting for a new contract this season, but we’re not going to learn anything between now and May that we don’t already know about Nir.
The former Ashdod man is a consistent performer for Lennon. He’s made 15 appearances already this season, which is just one less than the highly-praised Jonny Hayes (Transfermarkt).
A new contract could force Burnley to get serious
If we sign him up on a new, longer-term contract, it gives us a bigger advantage when it comes to negotiations.
Burnley would have to put in a more appropriate offer. Even with his contract down to within six months, £1m is still a joke for a player of the European and international experience that Bitton has. Remember, this is a player who has now played under three different managers at Parkhead. He’s played in Champions League, Europa League, and international football regularly. When it comes to experience, he’s a veteran.
On the flip side, it could turn the English Premier League club off. Who would complain about that? That would mean we still get to keep such a reliable player for the long-term.
Bitton’s comments about staying did come before the reported interest from Burnley of course. We would have to hope that the lure of the Premier League doesn’t sway his mind.
Celtic, however, could still make life easier for themselves by giving Nir a new deal. We know what we’re going to get from him between now and the end of the season – reliability and consistency.
You could argue that he earned his new contract when he impressed as emergency centre-back cover at the start of the season. But with Burnley potentially coming into the mix, Celtic can put themselves in a win-win situation of either keeping him at the club for the long-term, or receiving a sizable profit for his services.