Former Celtic attacking midfielder Kris Commons has lifted the lid Joe Ledley’s exit from the club, writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (19/08 print edition, The Verdict supplement page 16).
Ledley left the Hoops to join Crystal Palace in January 2014 with less than six months left on his contract.
Neil Lennon claimed at the time that the ball was in his court with regards to a renewal (BBC Scotland). The club were said to have been in discussions the prior December about signing him up longer.
Today though, when questioning the Hoops’ current recruitment and personnel policy, Commons claimed that the midfielder did not want to leave.
The pundit also reckons Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras wanted to stay.
As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (19/08 print edition, The Verdict supplement page 16), he said: “Wouldn’t it have been better giving Boyata an extra three or four thousand pounds a week?
“When I played, Joe Ledley left Lennoxtown in tears. He didn’t want to go. Gary Hooper was another who would have stayed and wasn’t asking for the world. Georgios Samaras was another.
“That’s what infuriated Neil Lennon in his first spell: an inability to keep hold of his best players.”
Did Celtic treat these former stars unfairly?
Clearly Commons’ view is one side of the story. Given Lennon’s comments at the time, there is likely plenty more than went on beyond players leaving the training ground in tears.
Celtic would point to Ledley’s, Hooper’s and Samaras’ records since leaving the Hoops as evidence enough they had likely peaked at Celtic Park.
Clearly though Commons feels that if Peter Lawwell and the board loosened the purse strings a little we might be able to retain our best talents more easily.
He is right to question the exit of Boyata for instance. We let a valuable player leave the club for free with some very poor asset management.
Will Lennon be ‘infuriated’ this time around too?
Commons’ comments on the manager are certainly interesting and give a bit of an insight into his final days at the club in 2014.
So far he has publicly been more than happy with the backing he’s got from the board.
However, we have been pretty slow in delivering our targets this summer despite the £25m sale of Kieran Tierney.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s eyes that we need a strong last couple of weeks in the transfer window. If we don’t, we risk missing out on our big ambitions this season.
Hopefully Lennon is left delighted, rather than angry.