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‘He’s the brightest talent’ ‘Just fold the academy’ ‘An absolute must keep’ Anthony Joseph tweet sets off alarm bells

At lunchtime today a troubling but familiar story popped up on Twitter with Anthony Joseph of Sky Sports flagging up the contract situation of Rocco Vata.

The teenager has been involved in pre-season action for the last two campaigns, played three times as a substitute last season but is now into the final year of his contract.

Telling the tweet mentioned a change of agency to CAA Base. Last week the same agency fixed Max Johnson up with a move to Sturm Graz from Motherwell, you can be certain that it wasn’t the Recruitment Team at the Austrian club that highlighted the young defender.

CAA Base, as any agency would do were circulating clubs about the availability of their client, only the naive would imagine that Vata isn’t getting the same treatment. Even if it is only to get the best possible offer out of Celtic.

At the age of 18 Vata has been in and around the Celtic Academy with Den Doak, Liam Morrison, Barry Hepburn, Rory Mahady, Vincent Angelini and others who quit for England or Germany at virtually the first opportunity.

Money played a significant part in those decisions but so to does the lack of any pathway into first team football. That door has been closing ever since Kieran Tierney broke through in 2015.

Vata has had two seasons of playing in the Lowland League, a third would be utterly pointless with no sign of any obvious alternative.

There is no established loan system although talks with Admira Wacker highlight the fact that the club is aware of the issue even if a solution is still elusive. Tobi Oluwayemi, Matthew Anderson and Ben McPherson have been linked with loan moves to the Austrian Second Division but with their league campaign already underway the players have missed out on vital preparations.

With wingers Yang Hyun-jun and Marco Tilio added to the first team squad there is no obvious route into Brendan Rodgers’ side, August will be decision time on Vata with fans hoping that he is given the chance to complete the leap from Academy football into the becoming a top team regular.

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