Brendan Rodgers departure at Celtic earnt the club a staggering £9million, but it’s left Celtic fans sickened and the club in a position where they have decisions to make and a shoulder to look over.
Rodgers abandoned his post on the cusp of winning eight straight titles and an unprecedented treble-treble, etching himself into Celtic history. Instead his name will be uttered with disdain. That’s not just because he’s left, but in the manner he’s done it. At a critical point of the season, if Neil Lennon takes time to settle back in, it could see rivals Rangers looming closer and closer.
Most of the bookies are still siding with the team eight points clear, with Celtic at 1/20 with William Hill to win the title. However, if they stutter the rest of the way to lifting, it could well be worth a punt and a free bet on Rangers next season, who appear to be backing Steven Gerrard exactly how he wants.
The effect of Rodgers leaving will hit home harder in the summer, with the club potentially losing 11 players. Key players in Kieran Tierney, Olivier Ntcham and Callum McGregor are all being tipped to leave Celtic Park by bookmakers Betfred, with Leicester most likely keen bidders.
Joining Rodgers for Tierney is Unai Emery, who’s keen to secure the left back, and with other clubs in the Premier League also looking at the 21-year-old a move seems inevitable.
If Rodgers raids Celtic following his success at the club it would only add further insult, leaving the Hoops with a major rebuild required as Rangers make slight tweaks to challenge further.
There has been a lot of angst with the board at Celtic and transfers throughout the season. Rodgers in particular has criticised their decisions to let players go, and that could leave the club in real trouble.
A number of clubs have been interested in the likes of Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa alongside Tierney, which would leave the defence completely decimated for a new manager to fix.
Not only will the new boss have to build a side, he’ll also have to impose his own style of play on them, which takes time. Time which Celtic don’t necessarily have.
Recruitment could become that little bit harder should Head of Recruitment Lee Congerton join Brendan Rodgers in Leicester.
Rodgers was keen to suggest nobody else would be joining the Foxes from Parkhead, but with the departure of Eduardo Macià the door is wide open.
Congerton has a history with Rodgers and it seems ever likely they will team up once more, leaving Celtic in a tricky position once again.
Celtic are already favourites to win the SPL next season at 6/4 with bookmaker Ladbrokes, however it’s going to be a huge summer for Celtic and the need to get things right is astronomical. Brendan Rodgers could perhaps have not left at a worse time and even with £9million in the bank, the lack of stability, and potentially increasing level of it, could leave them in trouble.
It’s thought that caretaker manager Neil Lennon is having significant talks about the future with the club, regardless of whether he’s at the helm or not, which will be helpful.
He said, “There are positions identified and some players identified and there is a plan going forward so it is business as usual as far as I am concerned and until I am told otherwise.”
He was also keen to suggest that Congerton wouldn’t be going anywhere, but Celtic fans are a little more dubious.
However, a clear plan in place for a new manager or Lennon would clearly be half damage limitation, half new build ahead of next season. Whatever happens it’s a big job and undoubtedly will see a period of regression before things before they improve.
Which will come as a frustration for fans as the desperation to get those big European nights at Celtic Park back.
Lennon is confident the club can compete with just a few more signings, but the significant losses the club could fade may put that back a few years.
Of course, the board may finally realise work is to be done and the club could have a dream summer and not only get the signings they want, but the man too.
Lennon is the current favourite to take the job, but the likes of Roberto Martinez and Henrik Larsson are also muted. The current Belgium manager would be a huge coup for the club and likely be able to draw impressive names into the club as well as a style of football that suits playing on the continent.
The next few decisions the board make are integral in continuing their dominance. Rangers aren’t far off and nobody at Parkhead wants to end their long streak of titles.