Celtic and Rangers in ‘same market’ for players should have only one outcome
Neil Lennon has opened up on Celtic’s transfer process as he revealed the patience required for what can be a ‘slow process’.
Speaking ahead of today’s friendly against Stade Rennais at Celtic Park, Lennon spoke of the need to trim the squad yet further, while getting the right quality in.
The manager remains “hopeful” of getting new faces in for the next qualifying round of the Champions League, assuming disaster is averted when Sarajevo come to Parkhead next week with a seemingly impossible task of overturning a 3-1 deficit.
Lennon said that hard work continues to be done behind the scenes, revealing a four-hour meeting took place this week to discuss targets for two positions.
He said: “There’s a lot of work being done in the background. We had a four-hour recruitment meeting on Wednesday on two positions. It’s quite energy sapping sometimes.
“We’ve got four or five days and you can do a deal in three or four hours. It’s a question of whittling it down, is this the right price, the right age, the right wage?”
The manager says that he has no interest in the transfer activity at Ibrox and insists there is no need to try to trump Rangers’ spending.
He said: “I can’t affect what Rangers do. It’s not one of those situations where if they spend £4m then we want to spend £8m. It’s not like that.
“We just want to get the right players in if the price is good and we think there’s quality and resale value in them as well.
He did reveal that Celtic may be in the “same market” for players, giving no hint as to who those players might be or for what position.
He said: “Are we in the same market for players? We might be but that creates its own issues.
“Sometimes agents play one against another and I don’t want to get involved in any of that nonsense either.”
Evidently, agents will attempt to drum up interest in their clients by playing two sides against the other and Glasgow is as good a place to do that as Liverpool, Manchester or London.
However, where there is genuine interest in the same player from both clubs, a number of factors should mean that Celtic always come away with the player’s signature.
Money. If a player is good enough to improve Celtic, it stands to reason he would also improve Rangers.
Even offering a couple of grand more a week would add £100k to an annual wage packet and that’s not to be sniffed at even in the elevated world of a footballer’s wages.
There’s no point in having the financial muscle if you choose not to flex it when it matters.
Ambition. Any player looking at Celtic and Rangers will surely see the chance of a better football experience in the east end than at Ibrox.
Aside from the Petrofac Cup (once your name is on it, you can’t get it off!) the club has not yet won a trophy. Playing for perennial losers must be taxing (no pun intended). If a player has the belief in his ability that he is good enough to play at Celtic, then why choose Rangers?
Glory. The chance to be part of a club that has dominated the game and written itself into the history books with three consecutive Trebles.
If it wasn’t enough of a challenge to maintain that level of dominance, a ninth title is there to be won this season. If all goes to plan next year offers the chance to be part of Celtic folklore with a tilt at ten-in-a-row.
Obviously, hero status awaits for any player who plays in a Rangers side that halts the Celtic domestic juggernaut.
It’s a big if, though and looking back no further than last season, Celtic in turmoil off the pitch, with a fall out behind the scenes and a defecting manager, still managed to keep a safe distance between the two clubs.
Offered more money, the chance of Champions League football, and the opportunity to play with and against better players, why would anyone opt for a move to Ibrox?
If Celtic and Rangers are indeed in the ‘same market’ for a player, there can only be one winner.