Ryan Christie could agree to leave Celtic for nothing once the summer transfer window ends, according to a report in Tuesday’s edition of the Scottish Daily Mail (via Daily Record).
Burnley and newly-promoted Norwich City have been monitoring the situation and could launch a move, while there is also said to be interest from European teams.
Christie is valued at £8.1million by Transfermarkt, but his contract situation puts Celtic in a weak position.
Christie’s contract at Parkhead expires in January 2022 rather than in the summer, meaning interested parties know that they can hold off until the end of the window and strike a pre-contract agreement with the player directly.
If a deal is not struck to either extend his stay or sell him on this summer, then the Hoops face losing over £8m worth of talent for nothing in 2022, in what would be a nightmare start to Dominic McKay’s reign as CEO.
Ryan Christie’s importance to Celtic
26-year-old attacking midfielder Christie has scored seven goals and provided 14 assists in 44 appearances across all competitions this season (via Transfermarkt).
Only Rangers duo Ianis Hagi and James Tavernier have set-up more goals in the Scottish Premiership.
In all, Christie has made 140 appearances in green and white since joining from Inverness in 2015.
He’s also been influential at the international level, helping Scotland qualify for their first major tournament this century.
Chris Sutton described him as a ‘manager’s dream’ and lauded his ‘ferocious workrate’ after his display in the play-off victory over Serbia.
Nightmare for McKay
Christie would be a significant loss for Celtic, who have again been guilty of poor planning, with McKay left to pick up the pieces.
The rising talent has been allowed to reach the final stages of his contract – his value dropping all the time – without any concrete talks in place for a new deal.
Of course, you want to keep these players around as long as possible, but sometimes you have to think long-term, and allowing any of the trio to leave for free at the end of their deals would be a catastrophic – where would McKay find funds to help whoever the new manager is rebuild the team?
If they aren’t going to extend their stays in Glasgow, McKay and the club must simply get what they can and put the funds raised towards their replacements.
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