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Belgium or Italy beckons as the Celtic exodus continues

There seems an almost inevitability about the departure of Rocco Vata from Celtic.

Club Brugge and Torino have been linked with the winger who featured briefly during Celtic’s two match pre-season trip to Japan.

Under contract until the end of this season there appears to be a Catch 22 stand-off with Vata that shows little sign of being resolved.

At the root of the issue is the complete lack of a pathway from the Celtic Academy into the first team with Vata stuck in the worst of all situations.

As he prepares for another batch of demoralising Lowland League fixtures he is in contact with Ireland youth team-mates littered around Europe.

Kevin Zefi is at Inter Milan, Ed McJannet is with Lecce, James Abankwah plays for Udinese with John Ryan at Sassulo. It isn’t difficult to detect the Italian connection as Tom Mohan gets his international squad together.

As the players swap stories Vata is unlikely to be piping up about Saturday’s goal against Civil Service Strollers in a 3-1 defeat at Christie Gillies Park.

In Italy Serie A and B clubs have their own under-age leagues and a network of clubs to send players out on loan to, most fail to progress to the top level but some do with all given the opportunity.

With the greatest respect no-one is going from the Lowland League to the Celtic first team squad which explains why Ben McPherson and Ben Summers are now out on loan at Queens Park and Dunfermline.

It seems that Vata is more sceptical about the development paths on offer at Celtic with the Daily Record reporting:

Club Brugge are watching Rocco Vata’s situation at Celtic closely.

The Belgian side are long-term admirers of the young attacker. They have been scouting him for more than a year. Italian side Torino have a firm interest but Brugge are ready to rival them. Former Celtic boss Ronny Deila is in charge at Brugge but their interest was there long before his arrival.

Vata has already made his Celtic debut but is now back down as part of their B team. The 18-year-old is now in the final year of his contract. Clubs are aware they could land him in the summer for training compensation, if he doesn’t agree a new Celtic contract. Celtic are keen to keep Vata but there appears to be a lack of pathway to Brendan Rodgers’ first-team as it stands. It could be that Celtic decide to cash in this summer rather than running the risk of losing him for less at the end of the season.

Two seasons ago Vata played with Ben Doak and Owen Moffat in the Celtic B team, one got away almost as soon as possible while the other stayed on too long.

While Doak gets very close to a first team start for Jurgen Klopp, Moffat is considering a loan move to Hamilton from Blackpool.

There are no easy answers but the complete failure of anyone to follow Kieran Tierney’s path in 2015 should be ringing alarm bells throughout Celtic Park.

Playing matches on the plastic at Airdrie against fifth/sixth tier opponents isn’t going to help anyone.

It looks like Vata is joining the exodus, the only certainty is that he won’t be the last frustrated young player to bin his Celtic dream for reality.

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1 Comment

  • by Captain Swing
    Posted August 17, 2023 1:10 pm 0Likes

    I can’t help feeling we’re failing to get these young guys out on loan within Scotland. I’d be reluctant to put them to other Prem sides unless they are already knocking on the door of our own first XI, but Championship is a good level, overwhelmingly full-time with decent crowds and TV coverage. Something isn’t quite adding up here.

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