This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Scotland will have to wait until next March to see if they will make it to the Euro 2020 finals, with Steve Clarke’s side banking on the play-offs after failing to advance through the main qualification path.
One man who hasn’t let his country down during the anti-climactic qualifying campaign, though, is John McGinn, scorer of six goals in his last three appearances for the Tartan Army, including the winner against Cyprus last Saturday.
The 25-year-old has had a good start to Aston Villa’s Premier League season, scoring three goals and setting up another two as he played every minute of their league campaign thus far. [via TransferMarkt]
Had events played out differently, the Scottish international could still be playing his club football in his native country.
In a recent interview with BT Sport‘s Scottish Football Extra [via Birmingham Live], McGinn stated that he had his heart set on moving to Celtic in the summer of 2018, when he was playing at Hibernian.
The midfielder went on to score seven goals and set up another 10 for the English club last season as they won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs, with his goal settling the final against Derby at Wembley six months ago.
Celtic weren’t exactly stuck for goals from midfield during the 2018/19 season – Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham got 23 between them – but that figure may well have been even higher if they managed to sign McGinn.
The player’s recent BT Sport interview revealed just how tough a time the Aston Villa midfielder faced during the summer of 2018 when the Hoops were chasing his signature.
He said: “It was awful. The summer was extremely tough for me, especially as it was such an important time for Hibs”, adding: “A lot of my family are Celtic fans and all my friends go and follow them home and away. At the time it was so tough. Every day I was getting the questions and even I didn’t know what was going on.” [BT Sport‘s Scottish Football Extra, via Birmingham Live]
Less than a year and a half ago, Celtic’s £2m bid for McGinn was deemed insufficient by Hibernian, as reported by the Daily Record. With his current employers now valuing him at 25 times that amount, the Hoops must look back with regret that they couldn’t quite force the deal over the line and pick up what may subsequently have proved to be a bargain.
Celtic fans, do you feel that the club’s unsuccessful pursuit of McGinn was one that they should not have let slip through their fingers? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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