Brendan Rodgers says Stuart Armstrong affected by agents' delay

Brendan Rodgers believes Stuart Armstrong's agents have created a false impression that the player wants to leave Celtic which has contributed to a slump in the player's form and confidence.

Stuart Armstrong trains with the Celtic squad ahead of the match against Astana. Picture: SNS.
Stuart Armstrong trains with the Celtic squad ahead of the match against Astana. Picture: SNS.

Read More

Read More
Rumour Mill: Patrick Roberts '˜will sign for Celtic' | New deal for Rangers star...

In his most withering and frank assessment yet of the impasse over Armstrong’s contract situation at the Scottish champions, Rodgers, pictured, claims it should have been resolved “long ago” with what he describes as a “really, really good offer” having been made to the midfielder.

Armstrong thrived under Rodgers last season, becoming one the the top performers in Celtic’s treble-winning “Invincibles” squad and earning a Scotland call-up.

But the 25-year-old, who is now in the last year of his current contract, has not been a regular starter so far this season with Rodgers observing a “nervousness” in his play.

The Celtic manager has no doubts Armstrong’s preference is to sign a new deal at the club but suspects his representatives – PFAS Pro Legal – remain hopeful of an alternative option in the English Premier League.

“There has been an offer there for a long time now which is a really, really good offer,” said Rodgers.

“But if his representatives feel there are maybe other options for him – and we haven’t had an offer [from another club] – and they want to wait and wait and wait and wait to see what happens then, okay, that’s what you do. But the player suffers.

“I have regular chats with Stuart. He is someone that I really respect as a person and I really respect the development that he made as a player last season. I want him to get back to that level. What worried me the other day was that I saw something in a player that I hadn’t seen since when I first came in to the club.

“Just a lack of confidence, nothing behaviourally. It’s just when you see someone’s confidence being affected, when you see a sort of nervousness when he made a pass. I’ve known him long enough now. I saw what he was when I came in and I watched him grow and develop. Then I see where he is now. And I don’t want him to be there. I want him to be the best player he can be.

“That is where the contract situation comes in. It is about finding that stability. If you’re paying someone to make decisions for you and who’ll gain their commission from it then, of course, that’s what you look towards.

“Listen, most players have representatives. They are there to represent them. It is something that could and should have been done a long time ago. That’s my feeling on it. But I have a feeling it might go to the very end of the transfer window. There will be reasons why, which his representatives have.

“I still believe this is the best place for Stuart to be. With all due respect, probably outside of Scotland nobody knew of him six months ago. That’s the reality of it. Over the course of the season he developed into a very good player. I still think this is the best place for him to develop. But I understand why others maybe would not see it like that.

“There will be a point [when the contract offer comes off the table]. But that’s something we’d have to look at and discuss internally.

“That’s not a decision that’s purely mine. But I can reassure the supporters that, for me, this is a player who does want to be here. He genuinely does. I just think it’s something that’s dragged on way, way too long for what, with all due respect, is a simple deal. This is a simple deal, Christ, not a big multi multi-million pound deal. This is a simple deal that should have been sorted out before the end of last season. Now it’s dragged on and on and on.”