This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to The Scottish Daily Mail (August 8, page 84), Celtic rejected a late bid for Callum McGregor from former boss Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City as their window was drawing to a close on Thursday evening.
Celtic booted out a late bid for McGregor as Rodgers looked to splash some of the incredible fee the Foxes received for Harry Maguire. It’s believed that Leicester were willing to spend £20m on the Celts’ midfield lynchpin, but the offer was rejected out of hand, per the report.
Major shareholder Dermot Desmond informed his former manager that McGregor was not for sale at any price as the club were preparing to lose another one of its stars to the Premier League, with Kieran Tierney joining Arsenal.
The report details the 26-year-old’s interest in speaking to his former manager but says he accepted the club’s decision to hang onto him during a period of change.
With Tierney gone, the loss of McGregor would’ve been a disaster both on and off the pitch for the club.
There could well have been a massive backlash as the fans come to terms with losing two key players, especially two Scotland internationals. Tierney, a boyhood fan, was tough enough to lose on his own, but adding their dynamic midfield maestro to the exit list may have broke the camel’s back.
It becomes even more crucial that the club opted not to sell simply because it is Leicester. Rodgers tarnished his Celtic legacy by jumping ship to a mid-table Premier League side just as he was on the cusp of treble-treble glory at Parkhead, and it’s fair to predict a successful swoop for McGregor would have erased absolutely any goodwill the Northern Irishman still had in Glasgow.
Once again, it shows the club is in touch with the fans, knowing that entering into a deal with Rodgers would’ve been a public relations nightmare.
Most importantly, McGregor is such a pivotal part of the Celtic side on the pitch. The midfielder played more minutes than any other player in world football last season as his side won their third-consecutive treble with him at the heart of everything.
Keeping McGregor wouldn’t have been an easy decision with such a large offer on the table, but the Celtic board deserves massive credit for simply walking away.