The mystery of Celtic falling apart against transfer opposition

By Euan Davidson

January 28, 2021

Celtic haven’t done an awful lot in the transfer market this January.

The Bhoys had been heavily linked to Mark McKenzie, Alfie Doughty and Bright Osayi-Samuel this month. Siriki Dembélé’s trail has gone cold, while at the time of writing, there’s doubt over Ben Davies.

Honestly, did you feel as much trepidation as I did when you read this story [Daily Record]? For me, there’s genuine concern. Because with every name but Dembélé’s, we’ve been allegedly close to a deal. Then another club swooped in.

For McKenzie, it was Genk. Doughty chose Stoke City over Celtic. Osayi-Samuel travelled to Turkey to sign for Fenerbahçe. It’s a trend, and a painful one. We couldn’t get a deal over the line for John McGinn [Sky Sports], and now he’s a star in the English top-flight.

McGinn, by the way, is the grandson of a former Celtic chairman. It should’ve been easy.

At the start of January, I worried about whether Celtic would actually do any business during the window. Celtic’s endless dithering, from the outside, looks incredibly profligate. There’s a hell of a lot that goes into a modern transfer, of course, and it takes longer than any supporter would expect.

Even then, it seems whenever another club is looking at the same player as us, we lose out. That’s a bad sign, and it’ll damage us going forward.

Nick Hammond after being appointed at Celtic / (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

So, what’s going on for Celtic in the transfer market?

Is the problem that agents are seeing Celtic as a less attractive prospect? After the Dubai debacle, it’s objective fact that the club put their own players and staff at risk. It was an arrogant move, which cost us points. That won’t help.

But one bad incident does not a bad club make. Celtic are 9IAR champions, quadruple-treble winners. Why are Celtic a hard sell, when trophies are on offer, and European football is an annual certainty? Why would a footballer pick Stoke City over that?

Who are players meeting when they are approached by the club? If we’re getting to the negotiation stage with players, are they turned off by the reception they receive?

Or, does money talk to such a significant point that the Championship is able to offer more lucrative contracts than Celtic? If that’s the case, we’re in really dire straits. It says a great deal that we’re battling for League One players on a regular basis.

Whatever it is, it needs fixed. We’re being beaten to players far too easily, and it’s causing the squad harm, and the reputation of our club harm, too. Celtic supporters need to know what’s going wrong.