I wrote this article last week after Ki Sung Yeung’s transfer to Swansea but superstition prevented me from submitting it before now as I didn’t want anything getting in the way of Celtic’s passage through the CL qualifiers. So apologies if this now seems a bit out of date.
There are several aspects of this transfer I am unhappy with. With Celtic battling to get into the CL group stages I am astonished that we even considered selling anyone from the first team squad before we actually qualified. Ki should have been in the pool helping the Celts manoeuvre through two difficult rounds and I can’t help feeling that the board panicked slightly and accepted the money in case we didn’t make it past Helsingborgs.
The fact that we did qualify for the group stages with the imminent riches that it brings should have meant that there was absolutely no financial requirement to sell any of our better players.
I fully realise that the EPL is a wonderful stage for players to perform and if any of the big four in England come knocking then it’s only natural that players will be tempted by the money, the bright lights and potential success. But you do have to question Ki’s ambition when he leaves a club which had one foot in the CL for the backwaters of Swansea.
Now I am a great admirer of what Brendan Rodgers achieved last season and the manner in which he achieved it but with all due respect there’s a good probability that Swansea will toil in the lower reaches of the EPL and that they will actually go down within the life of Ki’s contract. He certainly hasn’t gone to Wales for silverware. The SPL has many faults but surely the CL is the holy grail of club football and by declining the opportunity of playing in world football’s premier club tournament then Ki has surprised me.
Now that we have qualified for the group stages we are minus one of our best players. This does not reflect well on the image of the club. Through the years we have lost players to Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal but if you reduce yourself to selling your best assets to the likes of Swansea or QPR then you send a message out that these clubs are superior to you.
Which brings us on to the fee which was reported as an estimated £6M. Swansea had just sold Joe Allen to Liverpool for £15M, a player who wouldn’t be recognised walking down a Glasgow street and had one years meagre experience of playing in the EPL. Considering Ki’s pedigree of having played in European football, played in the World Cup and his recent fine performances in the Olympics for South Korea, then I think we’ve let him go on the cheap.
I’m not totally against the idea of selling Ki as he wasn’t assured a first team spot when all our midfielder’s are fully fit. But he shouldn’t have been sold to Swansea…and certainly not for £6M.
Some will argue that it’s all down to finance and there is an element of truth in that. However I am horrified at the attitude of younger Celtic fans these days who boast of how we could sell Wanyama for this amount and Hooper for that amount as if selling your best players is now seen as some sort of accomplishment. Some of us are old enough to recall the days when Celtic actually tried to build a team and compete with the big guns of European football. If we do have prized assets we should be fighting tooth and nail to keep them not selling them with indecent haste.
If the club and the fans have given up on this then we should be told and perhaps it’s time to stop the bus.
Because some of us are now seriously considering getting off.