Cluj forced to bat away questions on Dan Petrescu to Celtic

By David Walton

December 2, 2020

Romanian champions CFR Cluj have been forced to come out and bat away questions regarding whether Dan Petrescu left them to join Celtic.

Petrescu parted company with Cluj earlier in the week after a struggling start to the new season. Cluj sit six points behind Steaua Bucharest at the top of Liga 1 and are third in their Europa League group – just three points behind a top-two place.

The former Chelsea star’s exit from Cluj comes amidst a growing level of anger and pressure towards Neil Lennon in his Celtic role. Fans certainly haven’t forgotten when Petrescu dumped Lennon’s Celtic out of the Champions League qualifiers last season.

However, Cluj director Marius Bilasco has had to come out and react to questions on whether his departing colleague was leaving Romania for Scotland.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Bilasco said: “I have no way of knowing if Celtic’s interest in Dan Petrescu is true.

“We asked him about it, but he explained he had decided to leave anyway. If you have a manager who wins you three titles in a row and who gets you into Europe, why would you want him to leave?

“Dan Petrescu has always attracted interest from many clubs. He had the support of the board and this was his decision.”

Clearly nothing in Petrescu talk for now

It may come across as interesting that Petrescu didn’t flat out tell Cluj that there was nothing in the Celtic links, but even so, his eccentric nature hardly makes this much of a surprise.

Given Celtic have decided to stick by Lennon for now, it’s become evidently clear that there’s nothing in Petrescu ditching Cluj for Parkhead. That’s not to say he couldn’t be a Celtic manager or indeed won’t be the next one, but the board have made their decision for now.

What is pleasing to see from Bilasco’s comments here though is the fact that this was a decision made by Petrescu. Cluj clearly wanted to keep him tied to the club, and no wonder given he’s managed to revamp them and get them back on the European footballing map.

Dan Petrescu celebrates at Celtic Park (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Last season alone Petrescu managed historic successes for the club against the likes of Lazio, Rennes, and Celtic respectively. He’s done his reputation no harm by managing in his homeland, even if it has ended perhaps unceremoniously.

What next for the Romanian then? He’ll likely have to sit tight if he does indeed have his sights set on firing in an application to Lennoxtown. A quick appointment elsewhere would kill off speculation outright over any move here.

But Celtic could do a lot worse, and given Petrescu has historically had success against Scottish sides, the ride would definitely be an exciting one.

In other news, Lennon has reacted with a bit of fire in his belly to a question from BBC Scotland journalist Jonathan Sutherland today.