Yesterday, Marco Rose was finally announced as the man to take over at Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer, ending any rumours that he could join Celtic. Whilst many will be disappointed at this rumour being killed, there was no evidence to suggest that he was interested or even on Celtic’s radar.
The German coach would have been a great fit for Celtic, particularly in Europe. One issue is that it could have been viewed as a sideways move for Rose.
Salzburg and Celtic have similarities in that they are both big clubs in weak leagues. So when it comes to playing in European competition, they each have to punch above their weight.
However, despite being a selling club, Salzburg benefit hugely from the Red Bull ownership and association with the franchise. That involves income from many areas as well as player movement between themselves and RB Leipzig, New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Brasil, Red Bull Ghana and even FC Liefering.
There are obvious benefits here and many have questioned the ethics of it. To date these associations have managed to circumvent any rules.
What stands out for Salzburg though are the efforts of Marco Rose. There’s no doubt he is a very good coach.
I’m surprised he wasn’t earmarked for the Leipzig job. He beat them home and away in the group stages of the Europa League this season, proving he did better with fewer resources.
In general, Marco Rose has had notable success in Europe. Salzburg made the semi-final of the Europa League last season and the last 16 this season.
There’s no doubt that this would have been beneficial for Celtic and their budget. When you look at the transfer activity at Salzburg, they did not spend a great deal of money despite making a decent profit.
In Rose’s first season, spending came to just over £2M whilst players sales amounted to just over £15M. In the current season, his second, outgoings amounted to just over £11M with players sales at over £50M.
So unlike an “underdog” such as Ajax, who have spent a lot of money and are receiving wide praise this season, Salzburg have not. In the transfer market, Ajax have spent over £100M in the last three seasons whilst generating over £160M during the same period and that will continue next season when they sell two players for a combined total of over £75M.
The four-time European Champions are getting back to the days when they were the benchmark for generating talent, but they are without a trophy since 2014. Their transfer market activity is beginning to pay off in European football but they need trophies too.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Celtic were on an even keel as them on the park. I dread to think what they’d do to a Celtic team right now.
However well Celtic do in the business world, it just goes to show how far off the pace we are in the transfer market. Celtic have done pretty well from the odd standout player sale in recent years and it is a revenue stream for the club, but scouting has been a let down recently.
This is an area Celtic need to improve on and soon. Our youth set up isn’t too bad and we are seeing talent coming through from time-to-time, but we need to be just as good when drafting in talent from other sources.
There needs to be a balance in business on and off the pitch. When one area of the club suffers, so too does the other and we end up reeling things in.
Celtic have spent around £32M in the last three seasons on players. They’ve made the same amount in player sales.
There isn’t any profit there unless we are making progress in Europe or selling the crown jewels, but certainly not in the amounts that Ajax are dealing with. To do so the club need to ensure that the wheels within the club are well oiled.
From the youth teams, to the scouting network and the transfer market comings and goings. Season tickets, TV revenue, retail and progress in Europe.
That is why Celtic need to appoint the right people. Not just to be better than their closest domestic rival.
We need to be building for the future. Greater work must be done and within the climate we operate.
It is not impossible to make inroads in Europe, as other teams have shown, but we must improve our infrastructure. No quick fixes or cheap moves.
Rose coming to Celtic could have been great for us, but a move to a bigger league was probably going to be of more interest to him, especially back in his native land. And given the progress he made in European competition, Celtic would have had a battle on their hands to get him, if there was ever any truth to it in the first place.
I don’t think it is fair to say Celtic haven’t moved quickly enough, because the truth is, we don’t know who is on their candidate list and what groundwork they have done already. We’ve been critical of the board in the past and been proven correct at times, but when they brought in Brendan Rodgers, we were all stunned.
Neil Lennon is probably going to be the man to get the job unless the board have an ace up their sleeve. There is no evidence to suggest Rose was one of those aces or any of the other bookies favourites for that matter.
Today, Roberto Martinez’s agent killed any suggestion that the Belgium manager was even remotely interested. So that will generate further disappointment for some I am sure.
Similarly, Andre Villas-Boas agent made it clear his client would not be working in Scotland. He went on to say he would not be available for comment either.
We cannot rule out any candidate of course, but nobody knows who the candidates are other than what the bookies and the media speculate upon. Right now we need to back this management team to get us another treble.
The next hurdle is on Sunday at Hampden against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semifinal. By the time that match is over we will know if another piece of history is in our hands.