Celtic: The Ki to success in the transfer market
Celtic are now becoming a stepping stone for players that want to ply their trade in the English Premier League. It has always been the case that Celtic were a stepping stone, but usually it took an offer from a club like Manchester United or Liverpool to lure a player south. Nowadays an offer from Swansea City is the golden ticket and there was no way that Ki Sung Yeung was going to refuse that opportunity.It is of course disappointing to see Ki leave and to have that sinking feeling that another Premier League club might pay Swansea £10 million for his services in twelve months time, but what Celtic have done in business terms is excellent.
It’s probably not a great development in football terms, but Celtic is now a business and football is the “channel to market” that makes the money.
Ki is a really interesting case study because he ticked so many boxes at the time he signed for Celtic and when I say ticked the boxes I mean as a business proposition as much as a football proposition.
Let’s take a look at the characteristics that almost always guarantee you will make a profit on a player.The first factor to consider is the age of the player. When Ki signed for Celtic he was 20. In general a player reaches his peak value on the transfer market between the ages of 25 and 28. For Celtic, or indeed any club that is a selling club, you should try to purchase players that are under 23 and commit them to fairly long term contracts of three to five years.
A second factor that will increase a player's value is international caps. At the time that Ki was signed by Celtic he had already become a South Korean international player. If a player is 20 and regarded to be among the best 11 players in his country you have to suspect that he is talented. There is no better scout for a club than the manager of an international team. Managers of international teams are under pressure to get results from an entire nation and their decision to pick certain players is a far better indicator of talent than a five minute montage of clips on YouTube.
A third factor was that Ki represented South Korea at international level. South Korea is seen a commercially important market within football but far more importantly South Korea consistently qualify for World Cups and are actually a very decent international side. The World Cup is a showcase.
Calling all Celtic fans: How do you feel about the departure of Ki? Can Neil Lennon continue to sign talented youngsters and sell them on for a profit? Who do you think will be the next player to leave for pastures new down south? Will Celtic ever have the financial muscle to compete with the likes of Swansea in the near future? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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