Celtic should sell Rogic once Zenit up offer
Several days ago, I wrote asking if Tom Rogic’s time at Celtic was up? Little did I expect Russian side Zenit St.Petersburg to table a £9 million bid for the midfielder. But they have done just that on Monday night and while i expect Celtic to knock back that offer, I believe that an increase of even £1-2 million more plus add-ons should be accepted by the club.
However, it appears that Celtic want £15 million for the 26-year-old and despite signing a new deal recently with the Scottish champions I still believe Rogic’s time is up at the club. Mainly due to his lack of form and more importantly increasing amount of injuries sustained at club and international level.
There is no denying that Rogic is an exceptional footballer when he is on his game, but when was the last time that happened?
And while sentiment and cult status has endeared Rogic to Celtic fans as much as his skill and goals have, he is luxury that Celtic can ill afford, as at times he is like a man down in many of the games - especially last season.
In fact, Rogic’s best season at Celtic was during Brendan Rodgers’ first season in charge when he scored 12 goals and had six assists during the domestic ‘invincibles’ season. Not to mention scoring THAT goal against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final to secure the first of three consecutive domestic trebles.
And it looks to me as if Rogic is living off that Aberdeen goal, not him personally, but in the fans. Those that want him to stay at the club at all cost despite a dramatic loss of form.
He has lasted a full 90 minutes just 12 times last season playing just 35 times in all competitions and yet he is one of the club’s biggest earners. I do have to admit though that the huge number of games he has played for club and country seem to be taking its toll on the midfielder - with 128 games played in the last three seasons. 50 games alone in season 2017-18. He is in dire need of a break.
But with little impact on games last season, Rogic’s loss of form and injury battles saw Ryan Christie come to the fore as he scored 11 goals and assisted in nine other goals in all competitions. So if the Celtic board do sell Rogic - which I think they should do once the current reported offer is improved upon - then they have a ready-made replacement in Christie. And with the emergence of Karamoko Dembele, Mikey Johnston, Armstrong Oko Flex and the arrival of Maryan Shved to the club - there are certainly more options for Rogic’s position than ever before.
With the potential sale of Rogic to Zenit or another potential suitor, it will almost certainly cause further division between the board and those Celtic fans who love to attack Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond for selling their best players and not re-investing every penny back into the club.
But they fail to realise or don’t care to realise that under Rodgers, there was a huge outlay on wages - now sitting at 58% of Celtic’s £100 turnover. That is a huge bill and one that would even rival and dwarf Martin O’Neill’s squad wage bill during the UEFA Cup run.
Celtic, as a club and as a business, have always been prudent with their finances since Fergus McCann bought it from the Kellys. We don’t need to look far for the consequences of spending beyond our means, yet certain elements still demand big money signings, demand wages increased to keep players at the club and to hell with the club’s strict business plan. A plan that has allowed us to sign the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Christopher Jullien for £16 million across two summer transfer windows - not including the other permanent and loan signings that are and have taken place.
Since the days of Strachan being Celtic manager, the club has always balanced the books in part thanks to high profile player departures - be it Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Virgil van Dijk and Aiden McGeady. That is not going to change because wee John fae Coatbridge is spitting the dummy on social media.
Not that I don’t hope that the club loosens the purse strings at times to snap up quality signings.
And while Celtic don’t need to sell any of their top players, it is more prudent to sell those not performing and those no longer pulling their weight than those still performing at the highest levels. This is why I am not against the departures of Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic - while hoping that the club continue to reject offers for Kieran Tierney or that the player himself rules out a move away from the club.
Rogic has spent six years at Celtic, playing 154 games scoring 35 times. He has won six league titles, four Scottish Cups and three League Cups.
During those six years with Celtic he has missed a total of 78 games through injury and been injured for 404 days. He has had two knee injuries - resulting in surgery in February - he’s had serious ankle and groin injuries that saw him miss out on 40 games alone.
As I mentioned in my previous article, I do believe that Rogic’s time is up at Celtic and that the club should profit from him while they can. Another lacklustre season will drive his price tag down significantly and Celtic cannot take that gamble.
It is time to promote Ryan Christie as the permanent successor to Rogic and bid the Aussie a fond farewell. However hard it may be.