If there was one thing Jota had left to do to convince the remaining doubters, it is likely to have been to perform in and truly impact a Glasgow Derby.
Yesterday in another stop start derby for his teammates, Jota stood out as a creative spark, and a player – who much like he did at Ross County the Sunday previous – showed he has desire to complement his trickery, when getting in front of Borna Barisic to force the ball home and Celtic into the lead.
Other than the goal he was one of the players who regularly tried to make things happen, and rightfully won his second man of the match award in the space of a fortnight.
I listened to a Celtic fan podcast – apologies I forget which one – some weeks back, that put forward a question for the panel. If you were the Celtic boss and Michael Nicholson let it be known the rug had been pulled, and now there was only one £6m token Dermot Desmond would authorise to be redeemed in exchange for Cameron Carter-Vickers or Jota, who would you cash it in for?
At the time Cameron Carter-Vickers was very much in form – when has he not been this season? Meanwhile Jota was in a period of post injury inconsistency.
As such whilst it was understandable that the majority plumped for our on-loan Spurs defender, it still struck me as surprising that the result of the poll was unanimous, and apparently requiring little debate. It did make me wonder how they’d have voted prior to the Portuguese winger’s injury, but as with anything in football recency is quite the bias.
Hopefully of course things are still on track for Celtic to add both our impressive central defender and Portuguese superstar as permanent members of the squad next season, but assuming – and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility – that Celtic did move the goalposts and forced Ange Postecoglou to choose, which would you hope the manger plumped for?
On one hand the consistency both domestically and in Europe from Cater-Vickers has been impressive, and in terms of age a defender’s best years usually arrive later, meaning Carter-Vickers may well see further improvement still, as well as having a significant sell-on value should the trajectory continue upwards. On the other hand, he is a central defender and does £6m need to be spent in the open market to ensure a defender of a similar standard arrives at the club?
And in the case of Jota, there is a match-winner there in his own right, as well as a creative force he is expected to be from a winger. He links as well with Kyogo as anyone in the squad – Ferencvaros anyone? – and he’s proven now he’s capable of producing the goods against theRangers. Conversely however, he has proven to be somewhat inconsistent – as many wingers can be – and again is it possible to secure a wide player to fit Ange’s system for less than £6m? Recent links to other players suggest that may be possible.
Yet once again Jota is a young man with his best years ahead of him, and much like Carter-Vickers it is possible £6m to could be turned into upwards of £15m while we enjoy a further two or three years of the wee fella getting your bum off your green plastic seat every couple of weeks – something worth considering when you can’t feel your toes in January.
Hopefully it’s a pointless debate and Celtic are willing to shell out the fees required and the players themselves are willing to join. But over the course of the season so far, and with recency bias removed, how would you spend your £6m token if you could have only one of Jota or Cameron Carter-Vickers?
Perhaps Jota’s recent upsurge in form has won over the doubters, and there are bound to be less today than there was a fortnight ago, or does the incredible consistency and security, almost all season long, offered by Cameron Carter-Vickers win out? Do let us know your thoughts.