Celtic aren’t going to find another Patrick Roberts.
The arrival of the £4.5m-rated Manchester City man to Glasgow was met with cautious optimism, which quickly transformed into a hype that eventually made way for a full on love affair between the 21-year-old and the Celtic support.
His initial 18-month loan deal at the Hoops was exceptional and offered a glimpse of what could be a sparkling career at the highest level. For Celtic fans, his assists and goals at Scottish Premiership level were enough to make him a hero, even though everyone knew he would leave eventually.
His second full season at the club may not have worked out in a way that suited anyway, mainly because of injury, but the Hoops have been chasing the hole left by his absence for two transfer windows now.
First there was Charly Musonda, whose attitude failed to help him make the grade at Celtic, even after a stunning assist against FC Zenit. He was eventually hurried back to Chelsea on the quiet despite initially signing up on a similar 18-month loan deal to Roberts.
Then came Daniel Arzani, after signing on a two-year loan deal from Man City, worked hard to force his way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans before cruelly being ruled out until next season after the player himself revealed he would need a knee operation.
The way both situations worked out was unfortunate but perhaps it’s time to face up to the fact that shopping in a market for young, untested talent has its risks.
Should the club be looking to bring players to Glasgow that have more of a proven track record? Is hoping to find the lightning in a bottle that was Patrick Roberts unrealistic? Do we need to see more investment in a critical attacking area?
Those are all questions we should be considering as we approach a critically important January transfer window. At this stage, I’m not sure the fans will accept another prospect arriving on a loan deal, even if it does span beyond this season.