When Celtic were planning for life after Kieran Tierney in the summer of 2019 – with the left-back having been heavily linked with a move away from Parkhead for a number of months, before ultimately sealing a £25m move to Arsenal – Neil Lennon and Peter Lawwell were believed to have identified a number of targets to replace the Scotland international.
One such target was reported to be OGC Nice’s Romain Perraud, a former France U21 international who had highly impressed on a season-long loan spell at Paris FC, while another was Rapid Vienna left-back, Boli Bolingoli.
And, despite contacting the Ligue 1 side regarding a deal for Perraud, Lennon and Lawwell ultimately decided to go with Bolingoli – spending a quite considerable £3m on the Belgian, while Perraud went on to join Stade Brestois in a £1.8m move the same summer.
However, since these moves, the careers of Bolingoli and Perraud have gone in quite contrasting directions, with Celtic’s decision to go with the 26-year-old ahead of the Frenchman proving to have been something of a nightmare.
Indeed, the £1.35m-rated Bolingoli failed to impress over 14 Scottish Premiership appearances in his debut campaign, before being bombed out of Lennon’s first-team squad after being found to have broken lockdown restrictions in August 2020.
Meanwhile, following Perraud’s move to Brest, the defender has gone from strength to strength, highly impressing over his 36 Ligue 1 appearances last season, scoring three goals, registering seven assists and creating five big chances for his teammates, as well as making an average of one key pass, 1.3 interceptions, 1.7 tackles and winning 4.7 duels per game.
These returns not only saw the player who French football expert Adrien Dryll dubbed “deadly” average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.96 that season – that ranks him as his club’s sixth-best player in the league – but they also earned the 24-year-old a move to the Premier League, with Southampton paying £10.8m for Perraud last summer.
As such, not only did Celtic miss out on an extremely talented player when Lawwell sanctioned a move for Bolingoli ahead of Perraud back in the summer of 2019, the Bhoys also missed the opportunity of a huge payday – something that the club will undoubtedly be regretting.