This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Football Insider reports that Neil Lennon has reached out with the proverbial olive branch in an attempt to heal the rift between himself and Scott Sinclair. But with the winger’s contract due to expire at the end of this season is he merely attempting to put a plaster on a broken leg?
Sinclair arrived at Celtic in a blaze of glory, playing a key role in securing a domestic treble and an unbeaten, invincible league campaign. With twenty five goals and eleven assists in fifty games, Sinclair had proved to be a great signing for Brendan Rodgers.
But this season there have been questions as to why Sinclair has found himself so far out of the picture that youngster Lewis Morgan has been starting ahead of him. Why has a player with sixty goals in three seasons had his playing time reduced to just fifty six minutes in the first thirteen games?
Sinclair had his contract extended by a year in the summer despite falling out of favour at the end of last season. This prevented him leaving on a free transfer during a summer in which he was linked with Sunderland, Derby and Preston.
Recently though the Celtic winger has posted a video of himself training alone at Lennoxtown, as reported by The Daily Record, and appears keen to re-kindle his career at the Parkhead club.
Sinclair is on £30,000 a week and as one of Celtic’s highest earners – having him warm the bench (or a seat in the stand) isn’t a great use of resources. Lennon is now reportedly willing to meet Sinclair to move the situation forward, although it remains to be seen whether any common ground can be found.
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There is no doubt that, if given the chance, Sinclair can contribute to this Celtic team – his statistics over the last three seasons prove this – and it makes far more sense to have him inside the tent rather than out of it looking in.
But clear-the-air talks won’t truly address the elephant in the room; the ongoing uncertainty over Sinclair’s future. That appears to be one of the core factors behind his absence this season and simply bringing him back into the fold won’t change that. The fact of the matter is that his contract will expire, under its current terms, at the end of the campaign.
Considering Sinclair will therefore be allowed to sign pre-contract terms with clubs from abroad in January, or that Celtic may feel compelled to try and sell him then to avoid losing a talented player on a free transfer, the Englishman’s future already feels like it will be a recurring theme throughout the campaign. If that’s affected his playing time already this season, the problem could further grow.
Talks with Sinclair to smooth things over are all well and good, but how long will the effects actually last? Unless Celtic manage to tie the forward down to a new deal, there will be no clean resolution to the root of the problem. The Hoops are applying a quick fix to a long-term issue.