Report: Celtic candidate Fergal Harkin to stay at Man City

By Euan Davidson

June 1, 2021

According to reports, Fergal Harkin will not be taking the Director of Football job at Celtic.

In a report from the Independent (Ireland), it was claimed that while conversations took place between Celtic and Harkin, the Manchester City man will not be departing his current role. Harkin, employed as the Citizens’ Football Partnerships and Pathways Manager, had been linked with Celtic for a considerable length of time.

This follows reporting from the Daily Record this morning. The newspaper claimed he was “unlikely to land” the rumoured role at Celtic Football Club. The Independent has strengthened these claims, writing:

“The 44-year-old from Donegal has been linked strongly with the position while the Celtic hierarchy waited patiently on a decision on the manager’s job that was Eddie Howe’s until he dramatically pulled out because he could not secure his desired backroom team.

“But we understand that Harkin’s loyalty to City Football Group remains steadfast and he is continuing in his role as Football Partnerships and Pathways Manager in which he is held in high esteem by the Manchester City hierarchy.”

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Having failed to secure Eddie Howe last week, it’s two consecutive blows for the Bhoys. That is, unless something completely different was up the board’s collective sleeves this whole time.

Fergal Harkin had no offer to turn down, in the end / (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

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Given the confusion surrounding the Celtic manager and DoF roles already today, this isn’t a huge surprise. It is weird, though, that Harkin seemed to have influence of any kind. Given his employ at Manchester City, and his association with the City Football Group, it felt like a potential partnership wasn’t too far off in the distance.

This could be seen as an embarrassment for Celtic. However, unlike Eddie Howe, the club have never actually admitted their interest. All of the Harkin to Celtic chat came from reporting and conjecture. Certainly, he seemed a good fit, but you can bet his salary at Manchester City would be hard to walk away from.

There’s also, of course, the Irish connection with Dermot Desmond. And Celtic’s history of recruiting from Manchester City. Jeremie Frimpong, Olivier Ntcham, John Guidetti and more have come either straight from City, or indirectly. So, collectively, we’ve put two and two together to make five.

It’s entirely possible that Celtic never had real intention to bring Harkin aboard. That leaves candidates like David Webb, Mario Tognozzi and others in an interesting position.

We’ll just have to see what the club does next.

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