Ange Postecoglou was always going to be asked about players coming in and others that might be heading for the exit door at Celtic this summer, most relevant to that being the small group hitherto known as the Want Aways – Odsonne Edouard, Kris Ajer, Olivier Ntcham and Ryan Christie, maybe with one or two others to be added to the list.
Then there’s Leigh Griffiths who is essentially out of contract but hoping that Celtic will take up their one year option on his deal or perhaps more realistically offer him a different package which could even have a pay per play element included. Given the striker’s track record over his last contract that surely wouldn’t be the craziest idea to suggest.
The New Celtic manager began by dealing with the Want Aways. “No, I haven’t with the ones you are probably referring to, because they are just getting back into the country. We have different sort of end dates with the players, so because of that, they come in at different times.
“But I’ll certainly speak to all the players who are at the football club,” Postecoglou stated. “I’ll protect the club’s interests. So, if that means players don’t want to be here, then they don’t want to be here. But I will always put the club’s interests first because that’s my responsibility.”
Ange wasn’t entirely ruling out all of these players leaving. Ntcham is effectively gone, and he’ll sign for AEK Athens probably on Thursday next week, Christie seems to be heading to the French league to play for Monaco but both Odsonne Edouard and Kris Ajer are now apparently considering seeing out their final year at the club to leave as free agents.
That though is unlikely to happen in either case and it’s early days in the transfer window as the bluff and counter bluff tactics go on. Both feel that they have done their time at Celtic and want out and Celtic will want the money to go towards the signings Postecoglou is currently working on.
“I think some players may have a change of heart if they see a different environment, and they might see something that motivates them to continue with the club,” Ange said, deciding to keep the door open incase of any change of heart, staying though must involve signing a new deal, surely?
“Others might feel that it’s not for them, I’m comfortable either way. But I won’t compromise the club’s interests in that,” the Celtic manager added.
The news that Postecoglou has already spoken to Leigh Griffiths was revealed by the player himself last week and the New Celtic manager confirmed this yesterday. “We are having discussions with Leigh at the moment,” he said.
“I look at his background and he has had a fantastic career as a goalscorer. I have had a good chat to him and will continue having chats with him. But he has to embrace the direction the club is going in.
“This is not a one-way conversation. It’s not just about the player wanting to be at the club. It’s also about the club wanting the player to be in that environment. He has to embrace the values, the way we want to train and the way we want to be as representatives of this football club.
“If there is an alignment there, whether it’s Leigh or any other footballer, then great.” If not, then Griffiths is gone to be gone, pronto.
Postecoglou confirmed that he’s already working on bringing player into the club. “Yeah, we are working on that, we have to. As you have all mentioned, the clock is ticking for us. We are working hard, everyone in the club is working hard.
“We’ve got people in mind, people I think will help us. People I think will play the football that I want us to play. It’s not an easy environment to bring players in at the moment for a number of reasons. But I am confident we will do some business in the future.”
This where the BBC – the state funded national broadcaster – inserted their own spin by claiming Ange was talking about “emergency” signings? Some mob…