Neil Lennon's Frimpong timeline leaves Celtic with no excuses

By David Walton

January 28, 2021

There have been so many talking points to take away from the Jeremie Frimpong switch from Celtic to Bayer Leverkusen this week.

The speed of the deal took many aback. The figure involved, a reported £11.5million [Scottish Sun], has also been incessantly discussed. At 67HailHail, we’ve even taken a look at three potential replacements for the Dutchman.

However, there’s one piece of info Neil Lennon revealed that seems to have been overlooked. When touching on Frimpong’s desire to leave, the Celtic boss made the timeline public knowledge.

Indeed, speaking at his pre-match press conference for last night’s Hamilton game via Celtic TV, Lennon said the following:

“The player made it clear. This hasn’t just appeared in the last couple of days. This has been in the background for the last six or seven weeks. The club have made strides to re-negotiate with Jeremie and his representatives, but that wasn’t the case.

“The player made it clear to me, to Nick [Hammond], the board, that he wanted to leave. It’s a position that we’re looking at.”

Interestingly, Lennon also revealed in his pre-Hamilton duties that he has no idea if the club will spend money. Instead, he claims it could be the case that a loan player or two comes in [BT Sport].

Frimpong leaving is something Celtic have known about for some time

But the manager has inadvertently (or purposefully, who knows?) backed the club into a corner. He’s effectively admitted that we’ve known about Frimpong leaving for just about two months.

That should’ve given the recruitment team plenty of time to source a suitable replacement. Not a temporary loan either, but a talented player who can come in and make an immediate impact on a permanent basis.

Celtic may not have found out about the Frimpong fee until recently. However, they would’ve known how much they could’ve sold him for. It’s not as if Celtic are going to go out and buy a £10million replacement. A recruit in the region of £3m-£6m should not be without our range at this point. We’ve known for weeks we were going to get a good fee for the Dutchman. There should be plenty of irons in the fire here.

Celtic raked in a reported £11.5m for Jeremie Frimpong/ (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Some of that money will have to get reimbursed back into the transfer kitty. Don’t tell me all of this cash is now being used to help with the funds lost to the pandemic. Frimpong’s departure isn’t something the board should’ve been strategising financially for. It’s a financial bonus. Let’s not forget we still have major assets that will likely be sold in the summer.

The timeline here has left Celtic exposed. If we’ve known about Frimpong’s desire for six or seven weeks then pluck out a loan deal, it’s simply unacceptable. It would show yet more dreadful mismanagement of the on-field affairs at the club.

So let’s see what happens in the coming days. We SHOULD be getting prepared for a quality replacement coming in the door. But then again, it’s the Celtic board, so don’t hold your breath.

In other news, Alex Neil has provided us all with an update on Ben Davies to Celtic amid heavy speculation.