Celtic legend John Hartson has stated that he would love to see Manchester City’s Phil Foden at Parkhead.
The Hoops have had a positive relationship with the Premier League champions in recent years. The likes of John Guidetti, Jason Denayer, Dedryck Boyata, and Patrick Roberts have all come to the Hoops from City. Even this season, Celtic recruited Jeremie Frimpong from the Etihad.
Foden, meanwhile, is one of if not the most highly-rated youngster at the Citizens. He’s made a total of four appearances this season, and Pep Guardiola recently labeled him as the “most talented player I’ve ever seen” (BBC).
Hartson, however, was asked by Football Fancast about the prospect of Foden joining Celtic. It’s fair to say he was excited by the idea:
“Listen, I would pay Guardiola myself to get Foden on loan at Celtic. What a coup that would be for Celtic! Roberts was fantastic in his first year and it didn’t quite work out in the second year.
“But Foden would be fantastic for the fans to watch. He’s one of the best young players out their right now. I listened to Guardiola’s comments at the start of the season and he said that he will give Foden much more game time this season.
“But you look at that midfield and it’s difficult for him. Even the fact he’s in the mix and to be in and out of that side is an achievement.”
Foden not in the same position that Roberts was
Celtic have had plenty of joy from raiding Man City’s academy over the years. However, it’s fair to say that Foden can no longer be considered a youth prospect.
He’s on the fringes of the first-team at the Etihad, and has already made 40 appearances for the top team. That is a much better position than any of our previous City recruits. Guardiola stated only yesterday that he will play on many more occasions this season and in the coming years (Daily Mail).
Over the years, Foden has developed a preference as an attacking midfielder. Do Celtic really even need another one of those? Sure, it would be a beautiful quick-fix. But if it’s going to come at the expense of Ryan Christie’s development, for example, then it would only hurt us in the long-run.
This doesn’t seem like a deal that would suit Foden either. He’s closing in on that City team, and he has a real connection with the supporters there too. He’s already scored for the first-team eight times, and would clearly have high interest in him should he be allowed a temporary leave.
Man City’s preference would surely be to move him to another Premier League club too. Given the fact clubs in that division can’t see past it, they would probably be inundated with offers from their league rivals for his services.
But any Celtic move for Foden looks like a stretch for the time being. With Guardiola’s promise to him of more game-time, it’s difficult to see why he would be up for leaving.