BRENDAN RODGERS seemed fairly confident yesterday that midfielder Stuart Armstrong would be signing a new contract to keep him at Celtic for the long term.
The player’s agent has been in prolonged negotiations with Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell and as last season progressed Armstrong turned from a squad player into an important first team goal-scoring star.
For instance, if he had to be valued last summer in the transfer market Celtic would have been lucky to re-coup their initial outlay paid to Dundee United. Today Armstrong’s value would be much higher – especially if he is convinced to sign a new deal.
The 25-year-old is entering the final season in his current contract and his situation has attracted interest from the Premier League with Brighton, Burnley, Everton and West Brom are all reported to be monitoring the situation. Sooner or later one of these clubs is going to test the water.
Rodgers, will mindful of all of this, went out of his way to explain the situation as it currently stands.
“I wanted to put it on the backburner towards the end of last season,” he said.
“I didn’t want any distractions and there was a period of time when it wasn’t resolved.
“We put the contract talks on hold. He’s had the Scotland game and a holiday, so I’m sure they will resume over the course of the season.
“It’s just negotiation. Stuart’s at that point in his career. He had a brilliant season, he came on great strides last season.
“Contracts are always about length of time, or finances, but I am pretty confident the club and the agent will come to an agreement.
“He’s happy here in this environment and he knows he is improving and developing. So let’s wait and see. He’s someone I’m keen to keep.
“The last thing he needed to worry about was contract talks. We wanted to put that to one side. I’m sure that will be resolved over the course of the season
“He’s now an international player so let’s wait and see. He’s someone we want to keep.
“Naturally, I hope he, gets his deal here, and he is very happy. In his own mind he’s been through a tough couple of years, but now he has found a level of consistency and form and he naturally wants to continue like that.”
Celtic supporters had two main wishes as their brilliant season came to a stunning conclusion at the end of May. One was to bring Patrick Roberts back to the club on a permanent deal and the other was to get Stuart Armstrong’s new contract signed.
Green and white fingers remain crossed on both counts.
It would be a perfect summer for Celtic if Peter Lawwell can pull off both deals!