Report indicates rivals are using Celtic as a transfer benchmark again but it's a risky strategy

By John McGinley

May 27, 2022

Rangers are using Kieran Tierney’s £25m sale to Arsenal as a benchmark for entering negotiations on the sale of Calvin Bassey to a bigger league, Sky Sports have reported this week.

It’s said that a fee in excess of that figure, a Scottish record, is all they will consider when it comes to Aston Villa interest in their Nigerian international defender.

They’re free to value their players at whatever they like of course, but it seems like a risky strategy when you start making a direct comparison to a player like Tierney.

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The former Celtic left-back had made 170 appearances for the Bhoys by the time he left for Arsenal, winning four league titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

He was named in the Scottish Premiership team of the year in three successive season, also winning three successive young player of the year awards with both PFA Scotland the Scottish Football Writers Association.

Added to that he had played, and scored, at the highest level in club football – the UEFA Champions League. He was named in UEFA’s ‘Breakthrough XI’ in that tournament in 2017.

Bassey has had a good season with Rangers, there’s no doubt about that. But he was a bit-part player in their league success last term and only has a Scottish Cup win in the trophy cabinet for his efforts this year.

His form in the Europa League knockout stages has certainly caught the eye, but at the level of Tierney? I’m not so sure. The Scotland international is a proven winner and was so from a very young age.

Add to the fact that Tierney was already at Arsenal by the time he was Bassey’s age and the formula doesn’t really add up.

Rangers have been down this road before, using Moussa Dembele’s sale to Lyon as a benchmark for any deal involving Alfredo Morelos, something the club admitted themselves. [The Scottish Sun]

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Now the Colombian only has a year left on his current contract and isn’t at what you would call peak value.

So while knocking back suitors can be a worthy endeavour, sometimes it’s best to take what’s on offer and reinvest it in the squad.

That’s certainly the strategy Celtic have found so much success with over the last ten years.

My message to them would be play your own game, rather than simply try and match what Celtic do when it comes to sales. We didn’t start at the £25m mark.

In other news, Celtic will have board presence as SWPL becomes part of SPFL.