Celtic are a club used to being ransacked. Think Virgil van Dijk, Kieran Tierney, Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama to name a few.
The Bhoys are so often subject to letting their most valuable assets walk through the exit door. Van Dijk has since become a Champions League winner while Dembele is now valued at £45m after departing for just over £19m. Tierney, meanwhile, completed a record-breaking switch to Arsenal.
The coffers of Celtic were strengthened significantly from some of that business but unsurprisingly, there could be another mini exodus this summer.
Kristoffer Ajer’s agent has said that he’ll be leaving Parkhead while the future of Odsonne Edouard is very much up in the air too. He has been linked with a £30m move to Leicester in recent months while a report a few weeks ago claimed he wants a release clause in his contract if he signs fresh terms.
However, Chief Executive Peter Lawwell may not be left with any other option but to sell the duo when the transfer market opens. It’s not news Celtic supporters will want to see but for the good of the club, they have may have to be sacrificed.
Kieran Devlin of The Athletic noted this week: “Given the financial threat of not making the Champions League next season – when it happens and however it is structured when football’s usual services resumes – the likelihood is high that at least one of Ajer, Edouard, Ntcham and McGregor, as four of the most saleable assets at the club, will leave.”
If Celtic win the league they’d enter the qualification phase of the Champions League due to Scotland’s coefficient ranking. However, one report has claimed that in a bid to save time due to the pandemic sweeping the globe, the qualification phase will be binned for a year.
For clubs like the Hoops, this could have huge long-term ramifications, specifically financially. For reaching the group stages, each team are given €15m (£13.8m) according to Spanish outlet Marca.
On top of that, each team will earn €9.5m (£8.7m) for reaching the last 16. For winning a match, an extra €2.7m (£2.4m) is handed out. For drawing, a side will be given €900,000 (£832,000).
That’s a huge accumulative sum of money and that’s all without mentioning ticket sales and matchday income.
For a side like Celtic, this would be a huge loss and without selling some of their best assets in this eventuality – the consequences could be quite unhealthy.
Ajer, for instance, was valued at £15m by Devlin last week while it’s been reported that Celtic rate Edouard at £30m. The price for the Norwegian is close to that group stage fee so he appears to be the most disposable.
That being said, selling their star striker would leave them with even more breathing room. In order to sustain the future of the club, Lawwell may soon have to wave goodbye to the duo. A campaign in the Champions League, however, may save their blushes.
In further Celtic news, one player has ALREADY played his final game for the club…