Celtic‘s chronic under-investment was laid bare for all the world to witness in the Champions League third qualifying round on Tuesday evening, as Romanian minnows CFR Cluj scored a whopping four goals in-front of a stunned Parkhead crowd.
It’s the second season in a row that the Scottish Premiership’s eight-in-a-row champions and treble Treble winners have been eliminated from European football’s elite club competition at this stage – failing to even make the playoff round in their annual quest for the lucrative group stages.
As we told you on Tuesday night, the aftermath of the result centred on the club’s lack of investment in the playing squad, despite the Hoops being in the rudest financial health in their long and illustrious history.
Their last accounts showed a whopping £38 million sitting in the bank, and the faithful Celtic fans continue to snap up in the region of 50,000 season tickets each summer.
And on top of all that, the Celtic hierarchy have raked in at least an incredible £120 million from the sale of top players alone over the last nine summers.
Here’s how it all breaks down, with approximate fees provided by transfermarkt.co.uk:
Gary Hooper – Norwich City – £5.6M
The striker scored 63 league goals in 95 Premiership matches, as well as several crucial strikes in the Champions League, but his three-season stint ended in 2013.
Ki Sung-yueng – Swansea City – £6M
The scheming creative midfielder overcame a sticky start to his Celtic career by becoming a cult hero to supporters thanks to his cultured and classy displays in the middle of the pitch, capped off by his brilliant goal and Man of the Match turn in the 2011 Scottish Cup Final.
Stuart Armstrong – Southampton – £7M
The Scotland international played a crucial role in Brendan Rodgers’ side winning an ‘Invincible’ domestic treble but headed down south in the summer of 2018.
Aiden McGeady – Spartak Moscow – £10.8M
The tricky winger was a Celtic hero, and has spoken publicly of his initial reluctancy to leave the Glasgow club when the big-money offer from Russia arrived in 2010.
But he eventually departed for a fee eventually worth more than £10 million.
Fraser Forster – Southampton – £11.25M
The goalkeeper wrote himself into Celtic folklore with his display in the famous win over Barcelona in 2012, and was dubbed the ‘Great Wall’ by the Spanish press.
He eventually departed for the English Premier League for a fee of more than £11 million.
Victor Wanyama – Southampton – £13M
The brilliant holding midfielder was another targeted by the Saints and eventually headed south after several impressive displays in the Champions League, including a goal in the aforementioned 2-1 victory over Barca.
Virgil van Dijk – Southampton – £13M (Plus £7.5M Sell-On Fee)
The class Dutch defender’s talents were there for all to see during his two-season stay between 2013 and 2015.
His subsequent role in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph this season, and his stake to claim a Ballon d’Or, have proved that Southampton negotiated an absolute steal by prising him away for just £13 million, plus a 10% sell-on fee.
Moussa Dembele – Lyon – £19.8M
The French striker cemented his place as a Bhoys hero with his stunning hat-trick against Rangers in September of 2016, and went on to put on several impressive displays in Europe, notably by scoring twice against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Champions League.
Kieran Tierney – Arsenal – £25M
The left-back grew-up a Celtic diehard but he proved everyone had his price when Arsenal came calling earlier this summer – and made him the most expensive Scottish player of all-time by forking out £25 million.
These fees, of course, are somewhat subject to conjecture, but they don’t include the sale of players for minor fees.
So what do you make of the remarkable amount of money Celtic have made by selling off their best talent over the last decade or so?
Let us know in the comments section below…