Man United’s Wan-Bassaka £50m signing proves Arsenal are insulting Celtic & Tierney

Opinion, Transfers & Rumours
Kieran Tierney

With the news that Manchester United are set to announce the signing of Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka in a £50 million deal, it puts into perspective how insulting Arsenal’s two bids for Celtic’s Kieran Tierney have been.

The Premier League side lodged a £15 million bid for the Celtic left back, which was promptly rejected before an improved £17.5 million with £7.5 million in add-ons was placed and again rejected by Celtic – who reportedly want around £25 million for the Scotland international.

But with Wan-Bissaka signing for Manchester United, it is time that Celtic and other Scottish clubs get tough with their English counterparts, and stop accepting low ball offers for their best players.

The defender only made his first team debut for Crystal Palace last season, but will sign a five-year deal with Man United worth £80,000 a week.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton believes that Arsenal should look to the United deal as inspiration and hand over £35 million for Tierney’s services, but while some with laugh at Sutton’s valuation or even accept it, I still believe that £35 million for Tierney should not be accepted by the club.

Firstly, Celtic don’t need to sell the 22-year-old to balance the books unlike other clubs and I would hope that if any bid is accepted that the player decides to remain at the club to become a true club great and future captain.

Sedcondly, looking at Tierney’s career stats and Wan-Bassaka’s I would have to say that £35 million is still insulting.

I fully understand that Wan-Bassaka plays in the English Premier League, but having played just 42 senior league games in his whole career – it just shows how obscene the fees are down in England – especially when you consider that United paid £15 million for Swansea’s Daniel James this summer also, with the youngster playing just 39 games for the Welsh side.

So Arsenal’s two bids are insulting to Celtic, but more importantly it is insulting to the player himself, when you consider both captures by Man United.

Tierney is an established first team player with Celtic, one of the biggest clubs in world football. Ignore the level that the Scottish game is at for the time being – especially when you have players in lesser footballing nations going for higher transfer fees.

The 22-year-old has won 12 full caps with the Scotland national side, he has captained Celtic when Scott Brown was out injured, he has played 170 times for the Scottish champions in front of 60,000 fans every other week – but more importantly he has played 27 times in the Champions League, from qualifying to group stages against the cream of European Football – including Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich. Not only that he has played 15 times in the Europa League.

If Wan-Bassaka had half of Tierney’s European and International experience he would be going for at least £75 million if not more. So why should Tierney’s valuation be diminished – even when playing in the Scottish game?

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk signed from Southampton for £75 million after leaving Celtic less than three years previously. At the time, Celtic thought the £11.5 million they received for the Dutchman was a fantastic piece of business – but in reality it was a low ball transfer fee for a world-class player whose valuation was dragged down because he was playing in the Scottish league. Likewise, Moussa Dembele was an absolute steal for Lyon, who bagged him for £20 million from Celtic last summer, but after just one season in the French Ligue One – Manchester United were chasing him with a view to spending £35 million on the striker.

Why should Celtic accept any paltry transfer fees for the likes of Tierney given the money that English clubs are now spending on players with less experience at all levels of the game, and that could be argued are no better than Tierney.

During the David Turnbull transfer debacle, Motherwell stood firm over their £3 million valuation of their 19-year-old midfielder after playing just 34 games for the Motherwell first team, and Celtic must take a leaf out of the Fir Park side’s book to hardball and get as much as they can if the club are seriously considering selling Tierney.

The level that the Scottish game is at in European and World Football will always drive down the value of our players, but it is time that Celtic stopped being the bargain bucket for English clubs to shop in and go from a club accepting Aldi transfer fees to a club accepting Marks and Spencer’s fees.

For a club with a turnover of over £100 million, it is time that we took our place on the European football stage as a heavy hitter off the field just as we try to work towards on it.

Andy Muirhead

Andy Muirhead

Andy Muirhead is the former editor of Scotzine and producer of the Scottish football podcast, The Final Whistle. He has written for ESPN, Huffington Post, BT Sport, and The Morning Star, with work also featured in the Daily Record, the Scotsman, Daily Mail, Daily Express and numerous fan websites.

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