Before the game last night, there was quite a heated discussion on BBC Radio Scotlands Sports-sound show on the Celtic loannee approach, Tom English was asking what was the point and was it having a bad impact on promotion from within and folk like Peter Houston and Pakki Bonner were talking of the benefits and the expectations from bringing in expensive ( in transfer value) loannees in short term deals. The impact on the Scottish game was also discussed with comparisons of Ryan Christie and Lewis Morgan having to leave Celtic to get game time being raised and asking who does this benefit in the long run..the clubs, players, everyone, no-one.
Eventually host Richard Gordon called an end to it but it was a good listen and no quarter was being given by anyone so it wasnt just paying lip service to fill the time.
I duly headed for the game and then suffered like the rest of us.
One of the post match thoughts that kept filling my head was “Why didn’t we start Edouard up front?”. My reasoning being he is our player and a natural centre, unlike Burke who is a loanee winger we are trying to help convert to play through the middle. I could only surmise Edouard still isn’t fit but even then I asked “Why doesn’t Brendan get what he can out of Edouard from the start then swap hin out?”. Brendan does seem to prefer going with the alternative first rather than last judging by recent games.
Please do not think Im in any way anti Olly Burke. I think hes a great player and has been very good for us…but ( you know there was a but)….how can Brendan Rodgers demand his Celtic players “have to learn how to play in Europe” if he doesn’t ensure he plays them as often together as possible? At present Olly Burke is 99% certain not to be here next season. Same also goes for Timo Weah, who whilst a great talent, is keeping other Celts like Mikey Johnston from getting experience at the highest level. Again, how does Mikey Johnston learn if he gets overlooked for a 5 month loannee player?
We have constantly berated the signing policy and process at Celtic Park but being specific, I think its time we ask if theres any point in Loanees apart from an emergency ( dont tell me needing 2 strikers was an emergency when we only started the season with 2 ..that was self inflicted stupidity!). This is nothing against the guys we have on loan, or previous talents like Paddy Roberts. They may be nice to look at, but long term, its an ever decreasing circle and eventually its all going to come crashing down.
There is another way of course, sadly however with the Board demands for profits ( that currently seem to go nowhere bar the bank!) and the fans demand for 10 in a row, then its doubtful we will try it, least not for a few years yet..imagine, imagine this…imagine we actually went full in on promoting Celtic youth?
Lets take 2 clubs from smaller leagues in Northern Europe, both with a true football pedigree but with smaller finances in this modern football age.
Lets consider how they have prospered in taking alternative approach in recent years –
Lets play Celtic vs Ajax…whos worth more?
Approach: Loannees and Player Sales
Approach: Promote from Within
Thats right, Ajax’s squad is valued at 3 times our own.
Couple of questions..
- Can you name the Ajax Manager?
- Can you name many Ajax Players?
- Can you name the Ajax Chairman?
If money is the be all and end all, which seems to be our Boards aim, then the figures above would make poor reading.
A final footballing thought….just compare our current loanee approach that was numbed so easily the other night against a La Liga side in Valencia, with this note from our old friend Daniel Storey on Football365 regards Ajax vs Real Madrid
Ajax had 19 shots and almost double Real Madrid’s number of efforts on target. They are unfortunate that they faced the European champions and the European champions of getting it done.
Still, take a moment to appreciate Ajax’s bright new future. Even if it does end in a raft of expensive exports, that is how a club like Ajax must flourish. Develop, sculpt, sell and reinvest. Their matchday squad on Tuesday contained seven players aged 21, one aged 22 and another aged 19. De toekomst is helder.