Celtic are continuing their efforts to tie their key players down to longer contracts after it was reported that Ryan Christie is the latest to be offered new terms.
Speaking to Football Insider, former Premier League striker Noel Whelan, has waxed lyrical about the Scotland international’s contribution for Neil Lennon’s side.
So what has Whelan said?
When asked about Christie’s importance to Celtic in recent seasons and the rumoured new deal, he said:
“His progression has been amazing.
“He is fantastic. Christie has everything you would like from a wide player. He can create, he can score and has pace to burn.
“A player that any manager would want in his team. He also knows the club very well.
“Celtic have appreciated what he has done and rightly so he is rewarded with a new contract.
“He is still a good age. You do not want to let him go. He will be there for another two, three seasons with his best years still to come.”
So is Whelan correct?
Absolutely, Christie – rated at over £4million on Transfermarkt – can play anywhere across the front three and in midfield and wherever he is picked, very rarely lets Lennon or the Hoops faithful down, to the extent that it was believed that £30m would be the price that would-be suitors would have to pay.
He has shown in both a 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 that he can contribute and with 19 goals and 16 assists last season, the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle player is enjoying some of the best form of his career.
Only injury in January slowed down his season with Olivier Ntcham’s form in the number 10 role restricting his appearances before football was called to a halt.
Whelan is right, at 25, Christie’s best years are still ahead of him and his worth to the team should be reflected in his pay packet, offering him a new contract is the best way to fend off the inevitable interest that his form will eventually attract.