Confusion reigned at New Douglas Park yesterday as Celtic manager Ronny Deila laughed off suggestions that Kris Commons was on the brink of quitting the club after the midfielder bade farewell to the travelling supporters in what appeared to be a valedictory lap of honour, culminating in the traditional footballer’s goodbye gesture of tossing his boots into the crowd.
“He needs to get new ones,” Deila said when asked about Commons’ boots antics. “He has given me no indication that he wants to leave, I know he wants to stay and this is all negotiation. It is about what the player wants and what the club wants. This will continue and it is just a matter if we can get agreement.”
Sources close to negotiations have intimated there is little prospect that 31-year-old Commons, who is out of contract in the summer, will be offered a new two-year deal on the terms he seeks. Yet, Deila claimed that, irrespective of the playmaker’s contract situation, he will not be allowed to leave in this window. The Norwegian, who stated Celtic have heard “nothing” from supposedly-interested Bolton Wanderers, and also dismissed reports that talks had opened up with Shaun Maloney, was adamant a different outcome would not be determined by anyone above him at the club.
“He will not go, I have said it many times before,” said Deila. “He will not go, we are going to keep all the players we have here for the season, so he needs to go and get new boots. It is going to be expensive for him. Even if he says he is not signing a new contract, he is going to stay anyway. It is not easy to replace Kris Commons. This will not be taken out of my hands. This is a decision we will take together.”
Deila confirmed an interest in Maccabi Tel Aviv winger Tal Ben Haim, but cautioned that this did not suggest a bid would be forthcoming for the £2 million-rated 25-year-old. “He is one of the many names we have been talking about,” he said. “It is a long way from there to signing him up. We are looking for different positions and we will see.”
Deila was at Ibrox on Friday night to watch League Cup semi-final opponents Rangers. With the game abandoned, entering the stadium that was the scene of protests against the Rangers board proved the notable aspect of his evening. “The protest was under way but we got in under the ground…” he joked of going to Ibrox. “It shouldn’t have been a game from the start. There was so much snow we had to go on skis, like in Norway.”