After it appeared Australian international McGree was on his way to Glasgow for a £2.5million fee following a conversation with Postecoglou, the 23-year-old midfielder is expected to sign for the English Championship side from MLS club Charlotte. The deal involved could be worth up to £5m with add-ons for the American side – and reportedly will net him a £20,000-a-week contract, understood to be more than the salary terms offered by Celtic.
Postecoglou maintains it isn’t “too drastic” the approach for McGree didn’t land the player, and that his head being turned elsewhere is “an indication for me that this isn’t the right place for him”.
“I only want players who want to be here,” the Celtic manager said. “I won’t try and convince any player to come and sign for this football club. I won’t. If they can’t see the opportunities that exist here then that’s part of the deal for me. The ones we have signed all wanted to come here. It’s an easy decision. Everyone has their own free will to decide what’s best for them. But I’m not going to sell this club to anyone on its attributes or virtues. If they can’t understand that in the first place then they’re probably not worth talking to from my perspective.
“With Riley McGree there weren’t a lot of discussions. There was a bit of interest but when it’s clear to me that they don’t want to come to us, it’s fine. We don’t progress it from there. He’s one of a number I would have spoken to in the last six months that didn’t end up coming to us for a variety of reasons. If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out and it’s fine.
“I don’t know [if it came down to money]. To be honest, I don’t care. I don’t dig that deeply into it. The first transfer I did 25 years ago taught me you don’t take these things personally. Ultimately they are not rejecting me, they are not rejecting the football club. Everyone has their own free will to make decisions. It’s the same for both parties. It’s not just one party who decided not to go ahead. We decided not to go ahead as well. Because for me what’s most important is they want to come here. It’s no big issue for me. There are plenty of footballers who would love to come to this football club. They are the ones I’m looking for.”