The unimportant Celtic assets more expensive than Steven Gerrard
According to The Times, Aston Villa only had to fork out around £3m to take Steven Gerrard from Rangers.
Not quite the £9m Leicester were told to provide in order to take Brendan Rodgers from Parkhead back in 2019 [Sky Sports]. But hey ho, it is what it is.
Gerrard is away and Ange Postecoglou is left looking to take advantage of the chaos. With a Celtic squad bursting with quality, it’ll be down to the Hoops boss to ensure we make the most of the uncertainty and have a successful season ourselves.
However, funnily enough, Celtic actually have some unimportant assets that are worth even more than superhero Gerrard was to Rangers. Let’s take a look at all 3:
1. Albian Ajeti
Albian cost Celtic as much as £5m in the summer of 2020 [Sky Sports]. It’s fair to say we haven’t had a return as he continues to warm the bench.
He’s had a run of games this year under Ange, but it looks as though the manager has seen enough of him. With Kyogo Furuhashi and Giorgos Giakoumakis hovering the opportunities, it could be the case we never see Ajeti on the pitch again.
This comes after a dismal debut campaign in which a tremendous start petered out. Long goal droughts occurred and Ajeti would soon lose his place under former boss Neil Lennon.
He was a big-money signing at the time, but now he’s been reduced to nothing more than a bench-warmer. That’s right, we have a bench-warmer worth more than the former Rangers manager.
Says quite a lot.
2. Vasilis Barkas
Another big-money signing in 2020, Barkas arrived to the tune of £4.5m. That’s £1.5m more than Rangers managed to rake in for Gerrard.
These days, the Greek goalkeeper is 3rd choice behind Joe Hart and Scott Bain. It’s actually a shame considering he came to Celtic with a big reputation having won the league with AEK Athens and having UCL football to his name.
But it is what it is. Barkas hasn’t made a good enough impact despite several runs in the first-team. He failed to solidify himself as the number 1 last season, whilst Ange Postecoglou gave him 1 competitive game this season before ousting him.
He’s likely to leave the club in the near future. He remains too high profile an individual to be sitting on our bench for much longer.
Celtic will be prepared to take a loss on him no doubt, but for now, he still ranks as more costly than 1 trophy in 9 Gerrard.
3. The 2018 Parkhead uplift (“Disco lights” included)
Celtic made the decision back in 2018 to give Parkhead a bit of a facelift. This included a new £2.3m LED floodlight and entertainment system along with a £1.3m Hybrid Pitch [Scottish Sun].
At the time, these were laughed at. Particularly the lights considering they were clearly bought for big European nights in the Champions League.
Celtic had qualified for the UCL group stages under Brendan Rodgers in each of the previous 2 years. However, that run stopped in 2018 and we haven’t qualified since. Instead, they’ve been used for pre-match light shows both in the Europa League and the occasional domestic match.
It feels as though we’re at the stage where we’re just trying to get some form of use out of them. But it’s fair to say it all gave our rivals a chuckle considering our new Parkhead improvements didn’t lead to an improvement in results.
The pitch meanwhile hasn’t always been the greatest investment either. There have been times where it’s disappointingly cut up whilst our football has hardly improved on it either.
But even so, these are long-term investments. One day Celtic will be back in the Champions League and we’ll be making the most of our improvements. Considering they were combined reportedly worth more than Gerrard’s contract, they’re clearly worth persisting with.