The two priorities for Dermot Desmond during Celtic Park visit

It’s a rare sight seeing Dermot Desmond in the east end of Glasgow, but Celtic’s majority shareholder was spotted chatting to manager Ange Postecoglou in the Celtic Park foyer this week, which opened the floodgates on theories around the nature of the Irish billionaire’s visit.

There has been plenty of speculation on the reasons behind Desmond being in town. Social media was awash with hot takes, whilst WhatsApp groups were sharing ‘in the know’ information to members who all know it’s made-up, but are willing participants in the charade anyway. The mainstream know just as little as everyone else and are left to play a guessing game for clicks.


Despite the lack of source material, there are two main reasons why we want Desmond to be in Glasgow. The first and most important is to offer Ange Postecoglou a new contract.

Since Ange’s arrival, he has been on a 12-month rolling agreement. This isn’t unusual at Celtic, as previous managers Ronny Deila, Neil Lennon and Brendan Rodgers were all offered the same deal when they arrived at the club.

However, before the end of his first season, in which he won the treble, Rodgers was offered an improved four-year contract until 2021. This worked two ways, as it kept Rodgers happy (for a time) whilst protecting Celtic’s asset.

We are now nearly two seasons deep with our current manager and are yet to tie him down to a longer-term contract.

Ange has understandably become an extremely sought-after manager, with several clubs down south reportedly interested in the Australian. It’s a familiar pattern of play – Celtic do well and the gaffer attracts interest from far richer clubs in the EPL. We witnessed it with the aforementioned Rodgers, but also with Martin O’Neill who went as far as signing a ‘letter of intent’ to join Leeds United in January 2003, four months before taking Celtic to the UEFA Cup final.

Due to Rodgers being tied down to a four-year deal, when he abruptly left for Leicester, we cashed in to the tune of an astonishing £9m. This fee is still the fourth highest of all time for a manager, behind just Andre Villas-Boas (Porto to Chelsea), Julian Nagelsmann (RB Leipzig to Bayern Munich), and Graham Potter (Brighton to Chelsea).

The amount any EPL side would be willing to pay for Ange isn’t something we even want to consider at this stage, but tying him down would safeguard any unexpected managerial changes of heart. I mean, would you have expected the great Martin O’Neill to flirt with Leeds United just three years into his Celtic Park tenure? Yet, that is exactly what went on. Managers are fallible, and this is why our power brokers need to get Ange to put pen-to-paper on a longer and more lucrative deal.

With the contract situation taken care of, Ange and the board could then go full-throttle into their preparations for next season’s tilt at Europe. We all know Ange has big ambitions, and it is down to Desmond and the rest of the hierarchy to match that vision. That would take us on to the next preferred reason for Desmond’s visit – summer transfer budgets.


Like the gaffer himself, several of our highest performing players will have gathered interest from richer clubs in bigger leagues. There have already been rumours over the last few weeks about Brighton’s interest in Reo Hatate, while Crystal Palace join clubs in Germany and Italy who are supposedly interested in the league’s top-scorer Kyogo Furuhashi.

Ange didn’t give much away when talking to The Scotsman recently about the interest in Kyogo recently:

“My role in that is to keep preparing this team and those players to be the best they can be. Whatever comes along, you deal with it, and you use it as an opportunity to continue what you have started. I don’t think about whether players will be here or not be here, what I look at is that they are here right now.”

“And as long as they are here – and the hope is they are here for a very long time – I will push them to be the best they can be, and they will get the most out of their football career. Kyogo is certainly one of those.”

One thing is for certain, whether we lose these players or not, the manager needs to be backed once again in the summer and given the funds to improve on this season’s side. The last two years have been great under Ange, but if there is one thing many fans want more than anything it is continued growth.

Should Celtic lose the likes of Kyogo or Hatate, then we will definitely need to see Ange handed the chequebook, because they can’t be replaced with the same quality for the price we paid their respective Japanese clubs last season (a combined fee of a mere £6m).

To build on the club’s domestic success and fulfill any European aspirations, the board will need to make major investments on two fronts. By securing Ange Postecoglou on a longer term contract, and then allowing him to bring in some players of real quality (to the tune of four or five), Dermot Desmond will have made his recent visit to Parkhead more than worthwhile in many Celtic supporters’ eyes.


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