The Robbie Brady to Celtic conundrum

By Euan Davidson

May 28, 2021

Celtic and Robbie Brady: a match made in the papers.

For a considerable time now, formerly Burnely man and Ireland international Robbie Brady has been “on Celtic’s radar”. The links are obvious; Brady is Irish, he’s Premier League quality, and he potentially fixes a problem position. Yesterday, it was revealed that the winger is available for nothing.

By all accounts [Sun], Neil Lennon was very keen on the right-sided player. In fact, Celtic made enquiries in the summer of 2019.

So, there’s long-term interest there. Of course, what happened instead was Jeremie Frimpong’s unforeseeable emergence. Brought in as a prospect for the future, the Dutchman instead leapt to the first-team and didn’t look back, before eventually making the club £11m [BBC]. Any plans for Brady, then, sat on the shelf.

Given that Celtic, at the time of writing don’t have a manager, any transfer story is going to be eyed with suspicion. But, and as much as I may regret writing this before too long, I just don’t see Brady coming to the club regardless.

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Now, who am I, and who are Celtic, to turn their nose up at a Premier League player available for nothing? Well, firstly, we’ve been stung by the myth of the EPL before. Shane Duffy and Jonjoe Kenny should’ve easily prospered up here, on paper at least. To say they didn’t would be an understatement.

Secondly, “for nothing” is a massive stretch. The kinds of wages the former Norwich and Burnley man will want would make him an expensive outlay. That’s before we even consider how easily he’d fit in at Celtic.

Robbie Brady at his best for Ireland / (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Robbie Brady is a huge gamble for Celtic

Now, this isn’t to suggest any kind of problem with Robbie Brady, the man. He comes across well, seems humble and genuinely delighted to be a top-level footballer. His attitude has never really come into question, anywhere he’s been. So, it’s not a personal thing.

However, he’s definitely lost a lot of zip and confidence since a significant knee injury in December 2017. Brady missed nearly a calendar year of football, and setbacks have dogged him ever since. This season alone, Brady picked up 7 different injuries [Transfermarkt], and his output has reflected that, with just 19 Premier League appearances in 20-21.

At 29, and with that injury record in mind, this seems like a genuinely expensive gamble for Celtic to take. Given our own injury worries over the last season, it seems questionable to bring in a player for a key position who’s struggled for regular game time.

A prime Robbie Brady would no doubt be an asset to Celtic. His energy, delivery from set pieces and passing range are all excellent. However, that’s not what we’d be getting, should the Bhoys launch a bid for the Ireland international. Unfortunately, we just can’t take too many risks this summer.

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