Earlier on, we told you that Celtic target Alfie Doughty had signed for Stoke City.
That remains the case, no update there. But what we now know is that the former Charlton winger moved to play Premier League football.
“But Euan”, you might say, “Stoke City are in the Championship!”. You’re right, they are. In the last two seasons, they’ve finished no higher than 15th in that league (Sky Sports).
Doughty envisions a scenario where he can take the Potters back to the top-flight, however. Under Michael O’Neill, Stoke have a realistic shot of finishing in a Play-Off spot this season.
Doughty explained (via Glasgow Times):
“When I think Stoke I think Premier League. That was really the first thing that kind of entered my head. As soon as I thought that I thought ‘you know what, I’ll do my bit in the team and hopefully I’ll be in the squad to take them back to the Premier League’.”
To be fair to Doughty, he’s clearly the ambitious sort. Stoke City spent a decade in the top-flight, attracting players like Peter Crouch, Michael Owen and Asmir Begovic to the club.
For football fans of a certain vintage, the Potters are synonymous with Premier League football. 21-year-old Doughty will no doubt be in that category.
Celtic go cheap, fail to land Doughty
What’s particularly interesting, though, is that Celtic and Rangers tried to land Doughty on a pre-contract deal. Given that he’s currently injured, that makes some sense.
But Stoke City only paid £650,000 for the English youngster. Celtic were reported to be on the verge of a higher bid than that in the summer (Scottish Sun). Essentially, Charlton have lost money, but the Bhoys taking the inexpensive route cost us a potential star in the making.
If the money was available in the summer, where’s it gone?
Fans can rightly point to the money spent on Dubai, which would’ve undoubtedly covered some of the fee and prevented the rigmarole of the last few weeks. But in general, Celtic should be able to spend £650,000 or more on players they’ve scouted multiple times.
There’s obviously no certainty that Doughty would’ve signed for us anyway; clearly, as he’s just signed for Stoke. But by going cheap and offering a summer move with no transfer fee, Celtic put themselves at a further disadvantage.