Celtic cannot afford to lose Tierney and McGregor
As the summer transfer window opens today, reports across the UK are linking Leicester City with Celtic duo Kieran Tierney and Callum McGregor.
It’s not a great surprise really, given that Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers used to manage the Scottish champions and has always been impressed with the two Celtic Academy graduates. But while both will almost certainly command huge transfer fees, Celtic and especially the board must weigh up the options of such a deal.
If the Celtic board are even contemplating selling two of their best players, then questions must be asked of Peter Lawwell and his ambitions for Celtic. Their departure would almost certainly signal huge protests among the Celtic support with Lawwell facing the brunt of the criticism - while Rodgers will also be vilified even more than he is currently for turning his back on the club half way through last season.
In today’s game, you will be hard pushed to find a player that stays at one club for the whole of his professional career and I doubt Tierney and McGregor will remain at Celtic in the long-term, but with both being Celtic fans there is hope that they will stay to help Celtic win nine-in-a-row and then ten before contemplating leaving the club.
However, with Celtic demanding £15 million for Olivier Ntcham - who had one good season under his belt at the club - you can bet your mortgage on the price tag for Tierney and McGregor to be significantly higher than their teammate’s.
Whether the reports are true or not, Celtic’s board are in a Catch 22 situation here, if they accept what would almost certainly be club record fees for both players then the fans will turn on them and they could very well see their finances impacted with merchandise sales plummeting and season tickets cancelled. Not to mention losing two of their most valuable and important players - that are nigh on impossible to replace.
And if they knock back sizeable offers for the duo, then they would lose out on multi-million pound deals.
The question for the board is, what is more important? Keeping the best players at the club to continue domestic dominance and to make a dent in Europe or to sell their best players and lose not only that domestic dominance but also potential Champions League revenue.
All of this is before the players even consider leaving the club - if they want to that is. You can almost be certain that Tierney’s agent is whispering in his ear about a move down south, especially since his agent also represents Brendan Rodgers.
Celtic fans laud the likes of Paul McStay for remaining at the club for all of his professional career, but when discussing the Maestro with my Father he has always said that McStay was a great player - but if he had moved to Italy when he had the chance to do so, he could very well have been a world class player.
Only time will tell what Celtic do in the transfer window, but one thing is evidently clear - they must keep their best players if they are to win nine and ten titles in a row.
Do the club’s board and Peter Lawwell really want to risk the wrath of the supporters further?