Celtic and Champions League factor matters as Ange told he’d be Premier League hit

Celtic and Champions League factor matters as Ange told he’d be Premier League hit

Seeing his name plonked into the middle of every bookies’ long list every time a vacant manager’s job comes up in the Premier League is nothing new, and much of it has felt like someone in a London office breezily asking the room who the Celtic manager is these days and whether he’s any good.

But that changed somewhat over the weekend with credible reports the 57-year-old has caught the eye at Chelsea as they scramble around for their third manager of the season. The latter half of that sentence tells you all you need to know about how the Stamford Bridge club are operating under the leadership of Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali, and it does not feature the world ‘competently’.

But Celtic fans might feel it’d be just their luck if such haphazard ownership somehow zoned in on the man who has become an idol in the east end of Glasgow. They probably do not have much to worry about in this instance, given all indications are the coach Chelsea really want is Mauricio Pochettino, who does not currently have a job.

The brutal disposal of Graham Potter after just seven months also creates a need to satiate a furious fanbase with a name that comes with significant stardust. Postecoglou does have that allure south of the border, and the misinformed reality is there remains a great deal of dismissiveness from fans of Premier League clubs about any success earned in the SPFL.

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But achievements at Celtic, a thrilling brand of football and now credible interest from one of England’s traditional ‘big six’ clubs is bound to have the previously unaware or interested sitting up taking notice. Lee Sharpe, for example, admits to being blindsided by Postecoglou’s arrival in Scotland in June 2021.

The former Manchester United winger certainly know who he is now.

“I didn’t know anything about him before he came,” confessed Sharpe, speaking at the Kris Boyd Charity Golf Day. “When an American or Australian comes into the British game, there are question marks over them all the time.

“He has done an unbelievable job and he is going to be linked with British clubs because he has done so well at Celtic. I don’t see why he couldn’t do a decent job in the Premier League.

“It is a different job, Rangers and Celtic is a totally different job to anywhere else because the expectations up here for both clubs, from both sets of fans and from you guys in the media are just on a different level to any other club. If he was to go to England, I’m not saying he’s going to get a Chelsea or an Arsenal or a top six big club straight away, so maybe he does go to a lesser tier club and the expectations are different again.

“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t be a success in England. He has done a great job up here.”

It is not just how Postecoglou has reinvigorated Celtic on the pitch which is so striking, it is how efficient he has been with the club’s recruitment. Transfers are a much bigger business in the Premier League than up here, and so often you see multiple clubs chasing the same targets over a window. Having an eye for a player that others may not is another reason Sharpe believes Postecoglou will be turning heads.

“As soon as you are getting results like he is and his team are playing the way they are, and also the players that he has there,” he said. “He is picking players that nobody has really heard of and turning them into superstars so you can’t help but take notice. The merry-go-round in the Premier League at the moment for managers is bonkers. There is always going to be an opportunity somewhere at some point.”

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Postecoglou himself, though, gives the distinct impression he is no hurry to depart Glasgow. And why would he? Money, perhaps, but the ever-shortening shelf-life of a Premier League – it is currently at its lowest-ever average – means any such rewards could be fleeting.

There is the loyalty factor, too, in that Celtic were the club to take a chance on a guy who had achieved consistent success throughout his managerial career, yet found opportunities in Europe infuriatingly hard to come by. Celtic have given him the freedom to build as he pleases, and unless one of England’s top sides was to take a similar chance of him, Postecoglou’s best avenue to competing in the Champions League – something he clearly covets – will remain being with the Premiership champions.

“I certainly think for the immediate time he is there the Champions League would be a big pull, said Sharpe. “I am not sure he is going to go down there and get a potential Champions League team. I am trying to think who he could possibly go to. The Big Six down there, will he get a Tottenham? I am not sure Tottenham and Daniel Levy would be… I would guess it would be a smaller club to do it for a couple of seasons. If he wants to do Champions League, I think he has got to stay where he is.”

The alternative argument is that Postecoglou would be suited to a club with room to grow and flourish under his management, with Sharpe suggesting Leeds United as a good fit. Given they haven’t long appointed Javi Gracia, it seems wholly unlikely in the immediate future. But Sharpe stresses that’s the level of club most likely to make a move for the 57-year-old. But would that really appeal to him more than Celtic, factoring in the complete lack of job security and absence of European football?

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“Leeds would be massive for him because they have got the potential to grow,” Sharpe said. “They just need some money and some input. They never seem to have bought enough, really, never strengthened enough. They play at 3000mph and use the same eleven every week. You just can’t do it. It is an amazing city, an amazing club, the fan base is superb.

“It is a hostile environment so you can turn it into a fortress and it is a real tough place to go. That would be a great club for him to go to. But, like I say, if he is looking to do something in the Champions League he is going to need to stay where he is at the moment.”

Video Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou jokes with translator who starts speaking in English by mistake #Shorts

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