Why Celtic Won’t Sign Patrick Roberts This Summer

“I think he’s a player that of course we’d love to have here, but we have to respect he’s still a Manchester City player,” 

“If there’s ever a possibility of doing it then of course it’s something that I would look at.”

That’s what Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers said of Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts after the young Englishman produced yet another top-class performance in the Scottish Premiership.

But in all honesty I don’t think Celtic fans will see Roberts back in a Hoops jersey next season.

The thing is that the loan deal has worked spectacularly well and Roberts has come up to Glasgow, enjoyed his time and in my belief he’s become a better player. He’s seen plenty of first team football and that has included games in the Champions League.

I’m pretty sure Pep Guardiola noted with interest that his club owned Patrick as he skipped past the Man City defence to score in the 1-1 draw at the Eithad in the Champions League last December.

Pep likes technically gifted players who have a penchant for smart passes. In Roberts, he may see a player who could one day replace David Silva in the City side.

I’m pretty sure Guardiola will want to take a look at Patrick Roberts in pre-season and then judge his potential and what to do with him next.

I don’t think selling him will be an option, and that would possibly wreck Celtic’s chances of seeing him at Celtic Park next term.

Let’s not forget that Manchester City forked out around £12m to purchase Roberts from Fulham in 2015. As I’ve already stated, I think the loan spell at Celtic has been a success and so that fee will have only grown in the past two years. So I’m unsure the Hoops could even offered the young star even if he were made available.

Because of certain league and UEFA rules regarding the amount of home-grown players within squads, Man City actually seek-out English talent and I doubt they’d sell Roberts when you consider his nationality and the talent and potential he possesses.

So the two options are keeping him with the Citizens and having him fight for a first team bearth, Guardiola has shown faith in certain youngsters this season, or loaning him out again.

Now maybe Celtic can persuade City to loan Roberts out for a third year but I would imagine Pep would prefer to see Roberts playing closer to home, probably in the English Premier League if the Spaniard does indeed decide to loan the youngster out again.

That way he can watch him first-hand and see how well he can handle first-team football in England’s top flight.

When you look at Roberts two years at Celtic Park, it will be hard to convince the Man City hierarchy that he can achieve anymore at the Glasgow club, especially if they win the treble later on this month.

The wide-man has played fifty-two times for the Hoops, scored thirteen times, has made countless assists and won plenty of man of the match awards. He will also leave Glasgow’s east-end with winners medals bursting out his back pocket and with valuable Champions League experience.

During his stint at Parkhead, Roberts has also broken into England’s under-20s squad and has earned rave reviews for his performances.

So I really can’t see Manchester City seeing many benefits in Roberts staying in Scotland beyond this campaign.

The player himself has suggested that he’s ready to go back down south and try and win a place in the City team:

“City is also a massive club and when I return there I must be confident and believe in my own ability and see where it takes me.” 

Now before all the Celtic fans think I’m the master of doom and gloom, we should look at all the positives this move has had for their club.

Roberts has been a fantastic talent to watch and has made progress at Celtic Park.

Plus Patrick himself has been shouting from the rooftops about his time in Glasgow and how much he’s enjoyed it:

“As a mark, I’d probably score my move here more than 10 – the highest you could give. It’s been a great season, unbelievable and enjoyable. We’ve been playing brilliant football.

“My game has come on this year, technically and tactically, and that’s important.”

Those words, his performances and those of Jason Denayer before him will cement Celtic’s fine working relationship with Manchester City and that could see more exciting City prospects coming to Celtic in the near future.

It would also enhance the Scottish champions reputation on handling great young talent with other clubs and possible transfer prospects.

So while I don’t think Celtic will have Patrick Roberts in their ranks next season, I do think the move has worked out well for all parties.

I’d also like to point out I’ve been wrong in the past Celtic fans, so don’t give up all hope!

5 Responses to “Why Celtic Won’t Sign Patrick Roberts This Summer”

  1. Man city did not pay 12m for Roberts. The fee they have paid is less than 5m, with add ons it becomes 12m. City will be ‘forced’ to spend at least a few hundred million this close season as the other ‘tourist’ football clubs will be as they are all preparing for a bumper spend in the summer. Because that is what the TV audiences want to see. Money being spent wildly. You have not mentioned what Patrick Roberts will want. Will he want to remain at city if he is fourth or fifth choice and not getting picked most weeks? he might view a few years at Celtic as actually being more beneficial to his career than remaining at City in their under 20s. Eventually he will play in the ‘selfie-stick’ league that is the over-rated EPL. However, he may see himself getting their faster by playing in the CL with celtic than the under20s at City. Also do City want to sell him to a PL rival? Better he is not scoring against them and playing in Scotland . Depending on who they sign, Roberts may be available for 8-9mil and Celtic could land him for that.

  2. Thanks for the comment John.

    Ok so it’s £12m if you include add-ons, would City sell for less than that if he’s potentially a better player now? Certainly not as worse player.

    I think Pep will actually give youngsters a chance if he thinks their play merits that chance. In terms of possibly balancing the books surely they’d sell the likes of Nasri, Jovetic, Mangala, Bony and Hart rather than a young English prospect like Roberts.

    As for the player himself. I’m sure they’d consider his thoughts on where he’d want to go but at the end of the day they will do what they feel is best for his future development and probably convince him to go wherever they tell him to go.

    Would he prefer Celtic to City U20s? No doubt but we don’t know if that’s the only options available to him.

    On one more point, I think TV audiences like to see young British players doing well in the EPL. Hence why many get overrated imo,

  3. I don’t think City are worrying about balancing the books are they? The TV audiences in China, the rest of Asia the Middle East, India etc etc etc couldn’t care less about young English players doing well, in fact they would rather City just plonked down another 25 million of Abu Dhabi cash and signed a high profile player from a European club. And as for the supporters inside the ground. No one cares whether they live or die, they matter not a jot. But how many players do City want to have on their books. technically city could sign two hundred players and hardly play any of them, however, it seems, they already have problems with ‘team spirit’ due to the enormous egos of the prima donna mercenaries that they already employ and having too many of these characters, many unhappy at not playing, with nothing to do but count their money might be a negative for the club. Roberts might believe, and I think he is right, that a 4 year contract at Celtic will get him signed by a big European club, whether in England, or in Spain, Germany faster than playing 20 minutes a month at City. Being at Celtic has done Dembele’s chances no harm, hence he is happy to stay another year. Tierney is another Celtic player who is being chased by a wide range of clubs. I think Roberts will try to prove himself during the pre-season, but by that time Pep will have spent 200 million and they are not going to spend 30 million on a player and pay him 80 grand a week to leave him out and play a youth player. How many young players are ever given a chance at City? he would be smart to look at this and then decide if that is what he wants. Regardless of what the mental heads who defend the EPL say he is better off at Celtic than at most of the EPL. The standard is not actually that good and the majority of games are dire. Playing for a draw every week with WBA would be enough to ruin any young player. Playing in the CL has to be more attractive than playing to survive with about 12-15 of the top division clubs in England.

  4. John – The balancing the books is more to do with FFP than City’s own personal desire to keep to a stringent financial plan.

    It’s a fact that the Chinese markets as well as the Asian markets hold great value in the EPL and English players hence their interest in bringing the likes of John Terry and Wayne Rooney to the Chinese Super League.

    As regard to playing time at City, Roberts views on that won’t necessarily factor in on that. As long as he has a contract at City, then they’ll be the ones that dictates his future.

    He’s already at a big European club.

    I think Tierney and Dembele are fantastic players and I’ve said on this website that both have fantastic futures ahead of them. I have also stated that I think both should stay on at Celtic. It’s an easier situation as Celtic own those particular players.

    Is playing in the CL (which isn’t guaranteed) & playing in Scottish football more attractive than playing in the EPL? I’m not sure. Van Djik, Wanyama and Forster certainly didn’t think so.

  5. All three were primarily motivated by money and trebled their wages to play for mid table teams. All will probably move on to bigger clubs, Wanyama already has. Roberts has enjoyed himself at Celtic and is wanted by the club I just don’t think City will want him that much as they will spend obscene amounts of money again in the summer. Playing in the CL is the be all and end all for players. The epl is popular but it is simply not the best league in Europe and has too many average players on astronomical wages as the top clubs have skewed the market and effectively ruined the entire game. Bayern Munich talk about English prices and prices for everyone else. The EPL’s record in teh CL is abysmal when you look at the money available. i think Roberts would like to make it at City but he won’t be given the chance and Celtic is a better option.

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