How much are Celtic players really worth in the market?

In a world where football finances are increasingly stretched and erratic where does that leave players’ transfer prices when Celtic are buying or selling?

How does Celtic determine how much to bid for Alfie Doughty at Charlton or try and ask for Boli Bolingoli as a sale, or even to set as a release clause price for Odsonne Edouard – if that’s what will help secure his services for this season at the club?

It’s always an incredibly difficult task and we see the frustrations of fans every transfer window as the Celtic board try to squeeze down asking prices from other clubs. Sometimes the negotiations get great deals – as appears to be the case with Shane Duffy. Sometimes it looks as though Celtic have missed out by not offering more for the likes of Ivan Toney or John McGinn.

The Daily Record asks the question in one of their articles and reckons Celtic and other Scottish clubs should be demanding more for their players than they do now. They cite as a current example the transfer just agreed for Ollie Watkins moving from Brentford to Aston Villa for £33-million. No wonder Brentford felt £10-million for Toney was ok!

Watkins must be some player then. £33-million is just below a probable Odsonne Edouard and maybe a couple of Alfredo Morelos’ based on recent media more so than actual real bids of course.

The Record did a quick summary on Watkins and added a rather good comparison to his form alongside:

“Last season was his third and breakthrough year in the Championship but it was the only term where he has been able to top 12 goals. He hit 25 in 46 games while assisting three others.

“A good return, but to put his achievement into context, Daryl Murphy – a dud for Celtic – scored 27 times in two less games in the very same league.”

The Record goes on to quote the scoring record of Morelos against European sides rather than Championship clubs like Watkins’ goals. They also contrast Edouard’s form and remarkable France U21 goal scoring record. That Watkins deal could be ridiculous or just a sign that the English market is still at a high level and not as affected by the pandemic restrictions as we might think.

It does suggest Celtic shouldn’t be beaten down when selling and to be fair Peter Lawwell has brought in some remarkable sales figures over recent years. These figures suggest he could be saying no a bit more in search of yet  higher record sales. As a note of caution though, this will affect Celtic as buyers obviously too. So being pressed to up the offer for Doughty at Charlton should be no surprise.

Finally though there is the question of players elsewhere and their prices. Omar Colley at Sampdoria seemed a stretch too far and unlikely at almost £10-million for Celtic. Reports today again in the Daily Record show a possible different approach to pricing.

Apparently Sampdoria are desperate to raise around £30-million from player sales, so rather than reluctant to let Colley go, they may see the money ahead of the player. Their owner Massimo Ferrero is now quoted on the depressed player market in Italy in particular:

“Look around you. From Juventus to Roma to Inter, there are no big clubs who are buying.

“European football is at a standstill. This COVID is taking away the security and football is affected too.”

Maybe those reports of Morelos to numerous Italian clubs for many millions are a tad ambitious for several reasons, despite how much Villa have paid in the deal referred to above. Who would have guessed that!