When news broke Celtic would be interested in Zinedine Ferhat, it raised eyebrows. And not because the guy isn’t a good player.
Yesterday, FootMercato linked Ferhat to the Hoops. Right winger with 13 selections for Algeria, the man from Nîmes Olympique is 28 years old.
Not exactly a retiree, is he? However, it’s a hell of a leap forward in terms of Celtic-related player profile in recent seasons. Normally, the Bhoys are linked to promising talents from Europe or elsewhere, with sacks of potential. Someone who can be turned into a top player and sold. Think of van Dijk, Ajer, Wanyama and so on.
Instead, however, Postecoglou was not afraid to approach the players towards their prime years. Check out some of the signings this season; Carl Starfelt is 26 years old, Kyogo is the same. Joe Hart, 34, is by far the oldest player we have recruited in some time. Giorgos Giakoumakis is part of the 26-year-old players club, while James McCarthy is now 31.
Compare this with the previous transfer windows. With the exception of loans from Shane Duffy and Diego Laxalt, the oldest player Celtic signed was 26-year-old Vasilis Barkas. [Transfermarkt].
The previous year, the outliers were Hatem Abd Elhamed and Christopher Jullien, 26. If you don’t factor in the loans, every player we signed was 25 or younger, including Jeremie Frimpong and Greg Taylor.
So a potential decision for Ferhat is more than a little intriguing.
Does 28-year-old Zinedine Ferhat’s potential transfer signal a change in mindset at Celtic?
Make no mistake, that would be a good thing, as my colleague John McGinley illustrated yesterday. But it would really be a now signature, which would not exactly have significant resale value in the future. Out of contract this summer, that would be a good deal.
Especially considering his last seasons. In Ligue 1 last year, he scored 6 goals and established 10 goals [Transfermarkt]. If there is a way to do it sooner, it is worth considering. With Karamoko Dembele and James Forrest struggling for fitness, and Liel Abada the only full-fledged right-wing option that we have in great shape.
But it’s definitely a bit of a start. Especially in the offensive positions. Celtic to sign a striker over 26 would be more than slightly unusual. Typically, young forwards command the highest fees for a club our size, provided they make the required progress. Odsonne Edouard is the most glaring recent example.
Ange recruited young players, of course he did. Loanee Jota, the aforementioned Abada, like Shaw and Urhoghide, all young. But he has also tended to lash out at Celtic players who generally wouldn’t in the last decade.
This shows a real desire to win in the short term. Perhaps, as lucrative as it is, Celtic could have benefited from this kind of thinking in seasons past. Our team in 20-21 was, for the most part, a distorted collective of players with different ages, ambitions and motivations.
Maybe this Zinedine Ferhat conversation is nothing more than speculation. Even then, however, it leads to an interesting attitude. If Celtic followed through on the reported interest, it would raise some interesting questions about the club’s transfer policy.
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