Dundee man Paul McGowan has revealed that former teammate Steven Caulker turned down a three-year Celtic contract that left Brendan Rodgers fuming.
Celtic reportedly opened talks with QPR to sign the centre-back in the summer of 2017 (Scottish Sun). Nothing ended up coming of it, with Caulker claiming in 2018 that his best support network for previous personal issues was down in London (Sky Sports).
He later found himself released by QPR and signed for Dundee on an 18-month contract. It was there he spent six months playing with former Celtic man McGowan.
And speaking to Open Goal, the current Dens Park star provided further details on Rodgers’ pursuit of Caulker.
“Would he have played for a Celtic or Rangers? Easy. He said that Rodgers fell out with him. I don’t know how true this is, this is coming from Steven. Rodgers was raging with him. Rodgers was on the phone to him saying, ‘I’ll take you to Celtic and give you a three-year deal’.
“But what he would be getting at Celtic wasn’t making for the year he was on at QPR. For the year he was at QPR, he was making more.
“He told Brendan, ‘no I’m not signing’ and Brendan was supposedly fuming with him.”
Caulker strolled things in Scotland
For the six months he played with Dundee, Caulker proved more than capable of playing in the Scottish Premiership. Despite having been out of the picture with QPR for the best part of a year, he didn’t struggle to get his fitness back up to speed.
However, whether it be down to his support network or the wages he was getting in London, it’s clear he made the choice he feels was the best one for him at the time.
It’s also interesting to see that Rodgers was willing to offer Caulker a three-year deal. For a player who had been out of action for so long, that was a fair amount of security Rodgers was willing to offer him.
After his short spell at Dundee, Celtic didn’t bother reviving their interest. Instead, Caulker went to Turkey, where he’s kicked on once again with Alanyaspor. He’s made 39 appearances in Turkey in the near two years he’s been there (Transfermarkt).
So it’s clear that Caulker likely would’ve been worth the investment. The fact he ended up coming up to Dundee was a tad ironic given just six months previous to that he felt the best place for him was London.
Regardless, Celtic went on to win a treble-treble without the Englishman. He certainly doesn’t fall into the “ones that got away” category.