Celtic to hand McGregor new deal, playing it safe or bumping his transfer fee up a notch?

According to Football Insider, Celtic are set to offer Callum McGregor a new bumper contract to stay at Celtic. A reported £35,000 a week is on the table to tempt the home-grown product to stay.

Why the need for the new offer then?

McGregor only signed a new contract in December 2018 which lasts until 2023 so you’d think his future was secure. The only problem is this summer has seen an increase in interest in the Scotland midfielder from across the border and further afield. As shown with Kieran Tierney, club loyalty only goes so far if an English club comes calling and makes an offer you can’t refuse.

Leicester were the main club to be reportedly interested in signing McGregor. The obvious link being Brendan Rodgers. McGregor thrived under the Northern Irishman and was an integral part of the team that has won an unprecedented “Treble Treble”.

What would Celtic lose?

With a goal or assist every four games, McGregor is more than just a water carrier. In season 2017/18, McGregor scored twelve goals and had eight assists in fifty-five games, outstanding numbers from midfield. Although he scored just six goals last season, he doubled his assists to sixteen. Not bad for a player that played a part of the season in a deeper role covering Scott Brown’s absence through injury.

Not only does McGregor contribute to goals and assists when he is playing, he very rarely misses a game. Over fifty appearances in the last two seasons and more minutes than any player in the world last season including international football. In an age of rotation, you can’t put a price on durability at the highest level.

Should Celtic cash in?

Scott Brown isn’t getting any younger and McGregor has shown he is a more than capable deputy for their talismanic captain. McGregor would command a fee between £15-20m but Celtic don’t need the money and would find it hard to replace a player so versatile and productive. There is also the effect a potential sale would have on the Celtic faithful. After losing Tierney to Arsenal, selling another “one of their own” would be corporate suicide. Having another player who is the heart beat of the team sold, regardless of the transfer fee, could have serious repercussions both on and off the pitch.

Celtic are playing it safe. They are rewarding one of their best players and paying him accordingly. They are also further protecting one of their most prized assists. If Leicester, or anyone else for that matter, want to get him it would take an offer exceeding Tierney’s Scottish transfer record.

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