Celtic’s Tom Rogic dilemma as Zenit linked with £9million raid

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has revealed that the club hasn’t yet received a bid for Tom Rogic from Zenit St Petersburg.

The Russians have been credited with a £9million interest, but Lennon wants to hold onto the mercurial Aussie.

Lennon said: “He is a good player and I want to keep all of my good players.

“He’s not fit yet but hopefully he’ll join the group at some stage next week.”

That’ll be music to the ears of Celtic fans as filling Rogic’s boots would be no easy task. Celtic are already looking for more creativity, and the Australian is one player with magic in his feet.

The 26-year-old’s season was blighted by injury and when he did get into the side he often looked off the pace. It could be argued though, that Rogic’s lock-picking skills were what we missed most as we looked for that creative spark domestically.

In the double Treble season, he scored in each of the four games he played against Rangers, which would be a fantastic return for a striker far less an attacking midfielder.

A knee injury meant Rogic didn’t feature in the match on 30 December 2017 at Celtic Park. It finished goalless.

Last season, having previously dominated Rangers under Brendan Rodgers, Celtic won two and lost two against the Ibrox club.

We scored only three goals in total in those four games. Rogic was fit and on form in only one of those matches, the 1-0 game at Celtic Park, at the start of September.

It was a worrying slump in front of goal compared to the previous two seasons where we averaged almost three goals per game against Rangers in league and cup ties. Although it should be noted that Rogic didn’t feature in a couple of those matches that season, (a 2-1 win at Ibrox and a 1-1 draw at Parkhead).

There’s no one can touch an on-form Rogic in the Scottish league. He can turn players inside out and back-to-front, links play well, can slice and dice defences and is the scorer of great goals. Important ones at that.

As well as putting Rangers to the sword on a regular basis, Rogic scored last-minute winners in the Invincible cup final, at Kilmarnock as Ronny Deila had been feeling the heat, and in a 4-3 thriller at Fir Park in Rodgers’ first season as we came from two down.

He opened the scoring as Celtic beat Aberdeen to win the club’s 100th major trophy and has broken hearts more than a few times down Gorgie way.

The dilemma for Celtic, however, is revealed in Lennon’s second sentence.

“He’s not fit yet but hopefully he’ll join the group at some stage next week.”

Rogic has featured in only half of Celtic’s league games in the past three years, appearing in 57 out of 114 matches.

Even when he’s on fire domestically, he has failed at times to exert the same influence in the European arena.

He remains a player able to turn a game in a flash. An absolute joy to watch, Rogic can pull something from his bag of tricks that makes him seem born to wear the Celtic jersey.

If he can get fit and back on form, Celtic have a potent weapon on their hands ahead of an enormous season.

The question is, would Celtic pay £9million for Tom Rogic if he was playing for someone else, even without his injury record?

And if the fee goes anywhere near the £15million that the club has reportedly slapped on him, Celtic’s Wizard of Oz will most likely be hitting the road.

Even if Neil Lennon wants to keep him, even if he’s the man most likely to get fans out of their seats, even if it means another key component of the historic treble Treble side is going, and even if gold dust like his is hard to find in the market in which Celtic operates, he might find the club will find the temptation to cash in too great.

From a football point of view, hopefully, Lennon will get his wish and keep his midfield maestro. If he’s punted, we may have more money, but we’ll be the poorer for it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *