Former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce says the club “whipped” John McGinn away from Celtic last summer.
The Scotland international made the switch from Hibernian last summer for a fee believed to be around £2.75million, per The Times. Celtic, led by Brendan Rodgers, were credited with an interest throughout the summer and eventually matched the English side’s offer. (Daily Record)
However, it proved to be too little too late as McGinn chose to sign for Villa.
And Bruce, who takes his Newcastle side back to Villa Park on Monday, says the deal only went through after a late takeover of the club.
“I wish I could find a few of him, that’s for sure,” Bruce said of McGinn, as reported by Birmingham Live.
“We nearly, if it wasn’t for the new owners coming in, we nearly didn’t do that, because we couldn’t afford it. Just at the right time, they came in and we whipped him away from Celtic.
“We always knew he was going to be a very good player, we didn’t know if I’m brutally honest, to be what he is now.”
Bruce comments won’t make McGinn hurt any easier
Celtic missing out on McGinn has been well documented since, and seeing him flourish for Villa and Scotland doesn’t help ease the pain.
The former Hibernian man could have been our long-term successor to Scott Brown. Finding that man to take over from the captain is going to be a real challenge for the club, and they don’t have forever to sort it. McGinn was that man and everyone knew it.
Bruce’s revelation that Villa nearly missed out only makes things a little harder to swallow. The Birmingham club seemed to come out of nowhere to snatch their man and now it’s a little clearer why that’s the case.
But there’s always a positive to everything. Not signing McGinn has arguably allowed Callum McGregor to flourish more in the centre of midfield too. There’s also room for Olivier Ntcham, when their may not have been otherwise.
Would McGinn have chipped in that winner in the Stadio Olimpico a fortnight ago? We’ll never know.