“Loans are a possibility but they’re not ideal. You don’t want to develop other clubs talent and not get any money for it.”
Since he was reported to have dismissed the idea of bringing in players on loan earlier in the summer, what has changed for Ronny Deila?
Celtic’s incoming transfers so far: Craig Gordon (free), Jo Inge Berget (loan), Aleksandar Tonev (loan), Jason Denayer (loan)
The more this summer goes on the more I find myself sympathising with our new manager. It appears he is having no say on the important decisions at the club. While Craig Gordon officially put pen to paper on his Celtic deal in early July, almost a month after Deila was appointed Celtic manager, it was public knowledge that he had been training with the club for a number of weeks. The decision to bring him in is widely accepted not to have been Deila’s.
Next up was Jo Inge Berget on loan. Yes, Jo Inge had played under Deila at Strømsgodset, but that in itself was only an 18 month period between December 2009 and July 2011. Out of all the players Ronny managed during his 6-year reign at Strømsgodset I find it very hard to believe that Berget was the one that he demanded we go after. To me it reads more as though the player was offered to us (and a number of other clubs) by Cardiff as they looked to ship him out following their relegation. Having previously worked with the player, Deila would unlikely have declined the offer to sign Berget, however, I cannot imagine he would have been high up on his original list of targets. The signing strikes me as a very cynical one from the board. It allows them to appear to have backed the manager. I mean, who would doubt the signing of a fellow Norwegian? Especially one who, having worked with him in the past, Deila knows his strengths. Well doubt Ronny’s influence into the signing is exactly what I do.
Yesterday we saw two new players arrive. Both on loan. Aleksandar Tonev finally joined the club having been chased for over a year now, with Jason Denayer coming in from Manchester City. In truth I am fairly happy with these arrivals, well, I would be if they were actual purchases as opposed to short term solutions. Tonev’s transfer does include an agreed fee to make the signing a permanent one, which if he impresses we will almost certainly do. Hopefully he can recapture the form that led to our initial interest in him last summer rather than continue where he left off at Aston Villa. Whilst Villa fans are celebrating the departure of Tonev, I am reserving judgement on the player who only started 8 games last season, making a further 12 appearances as a substitute. The reports on Tonev are that he is a pacey winger, predominantly playing on the left, who has two good feet and is capable of scoring from long range. My only problem with Tonev’s arrival is that, once again, it is clearly not one decided on by the manager. Not unless Deila was recommending potential signings to the club in the summer of 2013, when we first attempted to sign Tonev.
Belgian youngster Jason Denayer has been compared to Manchester City teammate Vincent Kompany. I hope that the comparison is down to his footballing ability and not due to their nationalities and the similar paths their careers have taken (Denayer and Kompany both began at Anderlecht before moving to City). Denayer was nominated for the Manchester City Elite Development Side’s Player of the Year Award last season. A side that has had millions of pounds invested into it and defeated Bayern Munich 6-0 in the UEFA Youth League last October. The signing is quite an exciting one, however it is apparent that there is no such agreed fee to make the deal permanent as there is with Tonev’s transfer. We are bringing the player in for one year and one year only. It is doubtful he will ever make the grade at Man City, with all their millions, but it is also unlikely that he would be willing to stay at Celtic past this season. His interview on the official website appears to confirm that, “The Celtic manager liked me and called me and asked if I wanted to come for one year here. He told me there are some great players here which I can take experience from and this can help me.”
As well as the likelihood that Denayer is only here to provide a short term fix to our defensive woes, the biggest worry regarding this transfer is how it has come about. Last night there were rumours doing the rounds that Peter Lawwell’s son, Mark, is working as a scout at Manchester City. “Rumours” are exactly what I thought these claims were, however a quick search on Facebook shows a Mark Lawwell who has uploaded photographs with both Neil Lennon and the Scottish Premiership trophy, he clearly knows someone important at the club. As well as the Celtic link there are also photographs of himself at the Etihad Stadium (home of Manchester City). Searching Mark Lawwell on LinkedIn brings up the profile of a “Scouting and Recruitment Analyst at Manchester City Football Club”. If there is truth in the rumour that Peter Lawwell’s son is a scout working for Manchester City, it is not too ridiculous to assume that this is the reason we have been able to bring in Jason Denayer on loan. Having contacts at big clubs is no bad thing, nor is being able to sign promising young players from them. But just how much say in our signings does Peter Lawwell have at the moment. We have always known he makes the final decision on dealings, especially financially, but is he now in complete control of our transfer activity? Not only has Ronny Deila not been trusted to spend a penny on new signings so far but it appears he is having no say in who is brought into the club at the moment. We (as a club) are not giving our manager any support just now. He is not happy with the squad he has got, he’s as much as said that in recent press conferences. If we’re not going to allow Ronny to bring in the players he wants to fit his style of play then why did we bring him in at all?
Hopefully I am wrong and Ronny has had a big say on all the new signings. Hopefully they settle in quickly at Celtic and provide some much needed excitement and flair around the place. And hopefully some of them will stay at the club longer than just this season.
My worry though, is that we have brought in a young manager, appointed a confident, and at times controlling, assistant in John Collins without Deila’s approval, and our now signing players that he has no authorisation over.
I really do hope I am wrong, otherwise it appears that only two months into the job, Ronny Deila is going it a-loan.