Typing in Ryan Christie into Twitter will, as things stand, see you struck with some opinions on why Celtic should get rid of the attacking-midfielder.
Neil Lennon claimed over the weekend that the Hoops star has told him that he wants a “different challenge” at some stage in his career as his contract talks remain ongoing (The Herald).
This isn’t really a big deal. Go around that Celtic squad and the vast majority of them will tell you the exact same thing. Whether we like it or not, Parkhead isn’t the utopia for many of our youngsters and top talents.
Players who have the ability that Christie does are pretty entitled to look at their options in the long-term. Why wouldn’t they when they could potentially treble or quadruple their wages one day whilst playing at a higher level? Plenty of players will fancy testing themselves against a better level of player. Just look at Virgil van Dijk and Moussa Dembele – it’s worked out well for them.
It would be different if Christie was telling Lennon that he was demanding to go in January. If he was trying to disrupt the campaign and dart away on the cheap whilst leaving our 10-in-a-row push in grave danger, that would be unforgivable.
But there’s no sign of that yet. Lennon has already confirmed that contract talks are still ongoing. If the Celtic star wasn’t interested in signing a new deal then these discussions would’ve broken down a long time ago.
Christie entitled to negotiate his terms with Celtic
You can’t blame Christie for wanting to get the best deal possible for himself. Remember, his contract runs out at the end of the 2021/22 season, so you can see why there’s no real rush from him. Especially at this stage of our 10-in-a-row push when his main focus will be getting us back on track.
Far too many are acting as though Christie has demanded he be sold in January or the summer. That isn’t the case as far as we all know, and there’s still plenty of time for him to pen his new deal.
I’m the first to have a go at his performance levels in recent weeks for the Hoops, but let’s not pretend he doesn’t care. He can improve and his decision-making can certainly be better in the final third, but he’s a Celtic fan like the rest of us. There’s no way he’s on that pitch not caring in such an important season for the club. It’s just not possible for a Celtic fan to feel that way this year of all years – we’re not programmed like that.
But whilst we can criticise his performances for being below-par, it’s important not to go too over-the-top and start having a go at his commitment. That’s unfair considering the talks are still ongoing.
It’s important we see how the talks finalise before Christie’s love of the club/commitment to Parkhead is dismissed.