Debate: Dan Petrescu is a good choice for Celtic/an absolute disaster waiting to happen

By Euan Davidson

March 3, 2021

Typically, when a manager leaves, his conquerers are tipped to take his place: that’s definitely the case with Dan Petrescu and Celtic.

Petrescu, of course, masterminded victories over Celtic with CFR Cluj [BBC]. The Romanian legend, who played for Chelsea, Bradford and Southampton, led his plucky Cluj side to three Romanian titles [Transfermarkt], and beat Neil Lennon’s Celtic again in the Europa League group stage.

Petrescu has spoken in glowing terms about Celtic. The atmosphere, which he has experienced first-hand, is always alluring to the right type of coach.

However, his managerial record is spotty. Sadly, his spell at Kayserispor this year only lasted 45 days, with personal problems putting paid to a spell in Turkey. Petrescu claims he turned down the Hoops in 2014, but so has everyone [Sun].

So, let’s debate whether Dan Petrescu is a good choice for the Bhoys. In the Romanian’s corner is David Walton, and against the idea is Euan Davidson. Ding-ding!

Dan Petrescu and Neil Lennon / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

David Walton: Dan Petrescu is a good choice for Celtic

If there’s one thing Dan Petrescu has proven to be, it’s a successful operator whilst working on a limited budget.

Many will know him for ousting Neil Lennon’s Celtic in the 2019/20 Champions League qualifiers with CFR Cluj. That was one key example of him punching above his weight, but his managerial career has been full of them. He led the unfavoured Unirea Urziceni to the Romanian Liga I title in 2009 whilst achieving notable victories in Europe against the likes of Rangers and Sevilla.

His Euro record was bolstered further by success with Cluj. Last year he managed to make the last-32 of the Europa League, again on a fraction of the budget his rivals were on.

Yet Petrescu has also proven himself to be able to deal with the challenge of being a favourite too. He won the league in all three seasons he was in charge of Cluj in comfortable fashion and appears to be able to maximise potential when he’s backed.

He’s as cultured a manager as we could obtain at the moment, and has experienced his fair variety of different pressures in the dugout.

It’s not been spoken about much, but Petrescu has managed in five different countries. Not much will surprise him. If we’re talking about a fresh start, we could certainly do a lot worse. Even if Celtic would be the biggest job of his career.

Dan Petrescu has taken in two spells in China / (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Euan Davidson: Romanian gaffer is a Celtic disaster waiting to happen

For once, I’d love to be wrong, but I just don’t see it working out.

Yes, Petrescu has negotiated the Europa League to some extent. And he’s a proven winner domestically. But that’s with just one club, CFR Cluj. His CV at large is a who’s who of “who’s that?”.

Petrescu has had more clubs than [insert famous golfer here], and not lasted particularly long at any of them [Transfermarkt]. Fine, there were mitigating circumstances in Turkey, but his record is deeply concerning. He’s not been successful at Al-Nasr, Wisla Krakow, in two stints in China, nor Al-Arabi or Dinamo Moscow. That is a record that’s spotty at best.

Yes, he’s a likeable character, and he’s certainly cultured. But in terms of the long-term project that we need, I just don’t think he fits the bill. At this moment in time, we can’t really afford to gamble, and Petrescu represents just that; a massive gamble. For one example of it working out for him at a club, there are 4 or 5 sides who haven’t enjoyed his management too much.

Petrescu is the type of manager Celtic should look at, if that makes sense. Someone who has European knock-out experience but is still young and full of modern ideas. But I just don’t think Petrescu’s CV is impressive enough to land him Neil Lennon’s old gig.

What do you think? Pick a side in the debate on the 67 Hail Hail Forum.