This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Neil Lennon has stated his desire to keep Scott Sinclair amid rumours that he could be set for a return to England.
Lennon was speaking after his side’s 2-0 win over Nomme Kalju and addressed rumours that had been doing the rounds in the build-up to the game. According to The Lancashire Evening Post, Preston North End had made an enquiry about the possibility of bringing the Celtic winger to Deepdale on loan.
As reported by BBC Sport, the Celts boss addressed the rumours, stating that: “He’s got a great goal record and he’s had a great time at Celtic. So we don’t want him to go. That’s for sure.”
The winger has struggled for game time under Lennon since the Northern Irishman took over from Brendan Rodgers in February though, starting just five times since his new manager came in.
Now, Lennon was hardly going to say to that he wants rid of him and give Preston leverage in any potential negotiations for the 30-year-old. Yet, it would be no surprise if his comments were nothing more than a sales technique designed to strengthen his club’s bargaining position.
By stating his intention of holding onto the player to the board and the interested party he’s not going to harm the winger’s potential price. In what has been a busy summer for the club, extracting maximum value from sales and moving on underperforming high-earners has become an even more pertinent issue than it already was.
Let’s not forget the veteran barely started under Lennon, who clearly values the youthful exuberance of his younger players.
The Bhoys have spent around £12m so far this summer (plus all the wages that come with such an outlay), so they will inevitably be looking at player departures to balance the books.
With Sinclair on £25,000-a-week at Parkhead, per The Daily Star, a loan away might not bring in a massive fee but it would trim the wage budget considerably.
On top of the financial side of things, Lennon has a squad more than capable of absorbing the loss of Sinclair. The likes of Lewis Morgan, Mikey Johnston and Marian Shved could in fact benefit from his departure if it meant more regular game time at Parkhead. All three are young and hungry to improve, while Sinclair is headed in the opposite direction.
Quite simply, Sinclair was nothing more than a depth player under Lennon last year, and with Shved and Johnston both wowing fans in Champions League qualifying this week after Morgan did the same previously, it may just be the right time to let the 30 year-old make his bow.