In 2007, Scott Brown was signed from Hibernian for £4.4million by Gordon Strachan, but now Celtic fear they could lose their talisman for nothing next summer. Current boss Neil Lennon has conceded that there is a real possibility that Brown may walk away from the club that he now captain’s. Despite months of negotiations over an extension, an agreement does not look forthcoming. The Scotland international’s current contract is due to expire in June, meaning that come January, Brown will be free to discuss terms with other clubs over a potential pre-contract agreement, which would see Celtic lose out on any potential windfall from a transfer fee.
Whilst Brown, his agent and Celtic struggle to come to a conclusion, worries will be creeping into the minds of both Celtic fans and Neil Lennon. At the same time, Beram Kayal, who has been subject to interest from south of the border, has recently put pen to paper on a new 4 year deal that will almost double his wages. By removing doubt about his future, the 23-year-old Israeli, who signed last summer from Maccabi Haifa, has inadvertently placed further pressure and focus on Brown whose future remains very uncertain and unresolved.
Out of the two you would have perhaps expected Brown to be the first to sign an extension given that there is less than a year left on his current deal. The fact that this has not materialised raises real questions in regards to the future of the hard-working midfielder. Speaking before Celtic’s midweek Communities League Cup quarter-final, Lennon admitted his fears in regards to the ongoing saga,
‘We’ve gone no further. I’ve not had the chance to speak to Scott because he’s been in London. He’s just come off the crutches, but I don’t see him around that much as he’s doing his rehab work…I would have liked to have had it resolved but the agents know the club’s position on it and until they adopt a different approach, it’s a stalemate at the minute.’
January is looming large, and vultures from the Premiership are ready to pounce if the paper work remains unresolved. Lennon is becoming more and more concerned about the situation and would like it concluded sooner rather than later.
By handing Scott Brown the armband when Stephen McManus departed in 2010, it is clear to see the value that the Celtic boss places on the shoulders of his skipper. The former Hibs man is seen as a driving force on and off the pitch who provides inspiration and a certain understanding of the expectation that is required at Celtic. Neil Lennon views him as an integral part of the set-up at Parkhead, a man who they certainly do not want to lose for free, if at all.