There’s a scenario in which future Celtic boss (all being well) Eddie Howe can convince some stars to stick around.
After all, you don’t get to the top level of management without being able to inspire intense loyalty. Consider Ryan Fraser, who was linked to Arsenal and Liverpool [Sun], but stayed at Bournemouth. Nathan Aké was kept until the Cherries could demand £40m with add-ons [BBC].
Consider also the raft of players Howe kept with him on his march up the divisions. Howe, despite his still tender years in management terms, has inspired fierce devotion. There’s got to be something in that, from a Celtic perspective.
With Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and others facing the last year of their contracts, it seems incredibly likely there’ll be an exodus this summer. And, in all likelihood, that will still happen to a degree. But perhaps we’re already underestimating what Howe can do as a man-manager.
Able to convince some big names to the comparatively small Bournemouth AFC, he was also adept at keeping his players. Or at least, until he could generate serious cash for the south-coast side. It’s not inconceivable, then, that from day one, Howe could be motivated to convince some of our biggest names to sign new deals.
Optimistic, perhaps, but it’s not an abstract idea.
Eddie Howe is capable of inspiring loyalty
Now, we’re not suggesting anything like when Brendan Rodgers told that story about Danny McGrain [Celtic FC].
Don’t imagine a sheepish Odsonne Edouard twiddling his thumbs before meeting Eddie Howe and saying “well, gaffer, if you’re saying you want little old me then I’ll stick around”. That’s definitely not the case, and Howe would have a significant job on his hands.
But with Edouard, Ajer and others having been convinced to stay for 20-21, there’s a world in which a top-class manager like Eddie Howe uses his powers of negotiation. Frankly, he’s a safer bet than some of the managers of clubs linked to our star players.
Let’s indulge some rumours, momentarily. Arsenal and Leicester City are linked to Odsonne Edouard; Mikel Arteta surely can’t be long for that job, while Rodgers represents a different problem. Newcastle United are supposedly keen on Ajer [Chronicle Live], but Steve Bruce surely won’t be in the Magpies dugout in 21-22.
That’s a great deal of uncertainty, and in terms of a “big move” like this, you have to hit the ground running. There’s little room for error for new signings these days. Even less for players who come from the Scottish Premiership and need to convince middle England of their qualities, lest they be called “farmers” from a “pub league”.
We’re not saying to bet the house on this. However, what’s going to be happening at Celtic is clearly exciting, and it’s not beyond the realms of likelihood that Howe can convince at least one “want-away” asset that their time is best served in Glasgow.