For Marian Shved and Jack Hendry, it’s been an unusual year to say the least.
Both players were sent away on loan (Hendry for the second time) during a pandemic, to a country where neither could speak the language. KV Mechelen were top-6 bother-ers, and for Shved, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. For Jack Hendry, it was the last chance saloon, clearly untrusted by Celtic boss Neil Lennon.
We’re led to believe they’ve both enjoyed an incredible turnaround. That’s certainly the case for Hendry, who made it back into the Scotland squad and has been linked with a move to England. Meanwhile, Shved is considering his options, having turned from outcast to mainstay. Both sides have enjoyed decent seasons. That’s particularly true of Hendry’s Oostende, who currently sit 5th [Jupiler Pro League].
Are these career recoveries context dependent, though?
Do Jack Hendry and Marian Shved deserve further Celtic consideration?
Let’s take Hendry first. He, by no means, looked comfortable in a Celtic shirt. On the ball, he gave supporters cause for alarm, while never looking quite right from a positional sense when he was defending. There was potential, sure, but he’s 25 now. Celtic couldn’t wait forever for him to come good, and there’s a very good reason as to why he was loaned out in the first place.
He has been impressive, though. That’s inarguable. He ranks high in the Belgian top-flight for clearances [WhoScored?], while completing 85% of his passes. That’s good going.
Shved, meanwhile, has contributed to 5 goals in 16 league games for KV Mechelen [Transfermarkt]. It’s good, but it’s hardly the outstanding kind of form that will dislodge James Forrest, is it? At 23, his attitude has been in question and it’s not like, barring one 11-goal season for Karpaty Lviv, his end-product is enough to give pause for too much though.
At 23, it seems like there’s a low ceiling on how good Shved can actually be. We need to put this into context: he’s doing alright, at a very average side. It’s not like when Ryan Christie was banging them in for Aberdeen, and we couldn’t help but notice.
If Celtic can recoup fees from either player, it’s good business
Let’s be honest: Shved hasn’t improved so exponentially since joining Celtic that we should be asking for too much. He signed for £1.8m, and if Celtic could recoup roughly the same amount plus a sell-on fee, it’d be good business.
I’m very, very sorry to all the Free Shved campaigners. Honestly, it’d be great to be wrong on this one, because on his day I’m sure he could be an exciting player. But the fact he was loaned out at all, when James Forrest is our only other recognised right-winger, speaks volumes in itself.
Hendry, meanwhile, seems like a case of wanting what we can’t have. When he was at Celtic, he wasn’t good. Now he’s impressing at a standard of league very similar to ours, there’s a tinge of regret that he wasn’t around this season. That’s natural, and in truth, he could still work out for us.
However, it just seems unlikely that he’s a long-term answer for Celtic. In both cases, it shouldn’t be too much of a heartbreak to cut our losses.