Celtic, like any club, have no doubt had their fair share of missed opportunities and transfer heartbreaks over the years, with one notable case of what might have been having come in the form of current Arsenal captain, Martin Odegaard.
The Norwegian starlet had seemingly been a target for the Hoops back in January 2015, with then-boss Ronny Deila seeking a reunion with the precocious talent having previously handed the playmaker his senior debut for Stromsgodset at the age of 15.
The suggestion at the time – as per Deila – was that the Old Firm outfit were one of “20 clubs” interested in signing the teen starlet, with compatriot and international colleague Stefan Johansen stating that he had been attempting to persuade the youngster to join him at Parkhead:
“I’ve talked a lot with Martin. We keep in touch and speak on the phone a lot. I’ve told him that Celtic can be a good choice for him. The way we play would suit him. We have the ball a lot and that’s what Martin likes. He wants to be on the ball and creating chances. Every team needs a player like that.
“He also knows the gaffer at Celtic but it’s difficult when so many clubs want you. What can I say? He’s a patient boy and is very mature in the way he thinks.”
While Johansen went on to suggest that a move to an elite European club – such as Real Madrid – could prove “difficult” for the emerging prospect, Odegaard ultimately did not heed that warning and joined the La Liga giants for a reported fee of just £2.3m in that winter window.
Deila subsequently admitted that he had been in contact regarding a move for the midfielder although the lure of the Bernabeu ultimately proved too much, while the Bhoys were then unable to secure a loan move for the exciting asset later that year, despite claims that a deal had been agreed.
That failure to get a deal over the line has more than come back to bite those at Paradise, with the 46-cap sensation having gone on to blossom since then, proving a particularly impressive force since his switch to the Emirates, initially on loan, in January 2021.
Still only 23, the £115k-per-week menace has overcome a tough spell in Spain – where he made just 11 first-team appearances – to emerge as a leading figure in north London, boasting a tally of 15 goals and nine assists for Mikel Arteta’s side to date.
That includes a haul of six goals and two assists already this season, with the Gunners skipper – who has previously been dubbed a “genius” by Dan Levy – having played a vital role in his side’s surge to the top of the Premier League table.
Such has been the 5 foot 10 gem’s remarkable rise since that failed Celtic Park switch, he has now said to be worth as much as £70m – according to CIES Football Observatory – with that value only said to rise if his rich vein of form continues.
That will only rub further salt into the wounds as far as the Scottish Premiership side are concerned, with that transfer failure having proven a truly, notable howler.