Update:The transfer window closed and both Steven Fletcher and Rob Jones remain Hibs players. It appears that Celtic could not afford Fletch after all.
Celtic are following their usual, uninspiring pattern of stealing the best talent from the rest of the SPL by attempting to sign Hibs’ Steven Fletcher. Both Rangers and Celtic have found it increasingly difficult to afford quality players from outside Scotland in recent years and Fletcher will be the next in a long line of players citing their “ambition” as a reason for moving West. That his ambition is limited to choosing to remain in one of the smaller European leagues is apparently lost on Fletch.
As ususal, the Glasgow media have been happy to be the mouthpiece for the player and his agent, writing about how Fletcher hopes Hibs won’t price Celtic out of the move. Fletcher doesn’t seem to understand the basics of football transfers – he still has years left on his contract and if Celtic can’t afford him, that’s tough luck. Maybe he’ll just have to put his “ambition” on hold and move South to the biggest league in the world.
In the current economic climate, Hibs may have some concerns about transfer fees in future and may want to cash in on Fletcher now but that’s only thing that might work in Celtic’s favour. As ever, Hibs’ Chairman Rod Petrie holds all the aces. Hibs are in a solid position financially and Steven Fletcher has a long contract with the club so there is no need to sell. There’s every chance that at 5pm on Monday 2nd February, Steven Fletcher will be a Celtic player, but it will be on Hibs’ terms.
Dean “Deano” Shiels also left this week, to further his career with English Championship strugglers Doncaster. Dean has been a good servant for Hibs despite performances which were at times highly frustrating for the fans. It’s difficult to say if this will be a good move for the player but it’s clear that after 5 years at Easter Road, it was time for a move to pastures new. Swapping Edinburgh for the bright lights of Doncaster may not be an obvious choice for many but the challenge might be just what Shiels needs.
Speculation also surrounds Hibs’ captain, Rob Jones. Colchester have been making big noises but offering little cash for Jones but there are other clubs also interested. Should Leeds or Nottingham Forrest put in a decent bid, it will be interesting to see whether Petrie can resist taking the cash.