Cluj manager Dan Petrescu has certainly been on the charm offensive ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League qualifier against Celtic. And, speaking to Football Scotland, the former Chelsea defender has now turned the spotlight on the Hoops’ best young players.
Celtic are used to losing some of their best young players to the Premier League. Even Kieran Tierney, the boyhood fanatic who rose through the ranks, couldn’t turn down the chance to join Arsenal and follow in the footsteps of Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Stuart Armstrong.
And Petrescu believes that Tierney will not be alone in attracting interest from clubs south of the border, picking out Kristoffer Ajer, Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie as three players bound for the big league.
"This Celtic team has some very, very good young players. I'm sure in two years' time they will not be here. They will be at big clubs in the Premier League or Spain,” Petrescu said.
"I have watched all the games, I have a good eye after 16 years of coaching and 20 years of playing and I am sure of this, these players will go to the top level.
"The players who will go to another level will be Ajer, Christie for sure, a fantastic player, and Edouard also.”
Christie has certainly enjoyed an outstanding start to the season, scoring seven goals already including a hat-trick of stunners in the 7-0 thrashing of St Johnstone. The powerful yet skilful Edouard is finally starting to fulfil his potential at centre-forward while Ajer was linked with a £15 million move to Leicester City (the Sun).
Petrescu has a point. But Celtic fans won’t thank him for reminding them that even the top team in Scotland struggle to convince their very best not to have their head turned.
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