Rogic in limbo as Celtic play hardball over contract talks

Australia star Tom Rogic’s golden run at Celtic has been abruptly halted with the gifted attacking midfielder seemingly cast into the cold as talks over a new contract stall.

Rogic

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It's an impasse which could have repercussions for the national team as Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou prepares to name his squad for next month’s crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan.

Rogic, 23, has been conspicuous by his absence from the Bhoys’ last two squads - the 3-0 win over Inverness and the 1-1 draw against Hamilton Academical, as he apparently pays the price for holding out for a better offer.

Though discussions began in November over extending Rogic’s contract beyond mid-2017, it’s believed the playmaker, who has scored six goals in 21 league appearances this season, is far from convinced by the terms on the table.

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As a result, the club appear to have taken the same hard-line stance with Rogic as they have with Scottish international winger James Forrest, who has been branded a 'contract rebel' for declining to sign a new four-year deal and also effectively banished from the first team squad.

Both played their last games for the Hoops off the bench in the 2-0 win over Aussie Jackson Irvine’s Ross County on 13 February – and have not been sighted in the first team squad since, despite being match fit and keen to help the club push on towards a Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup double.

Rogic’s concerning absence comes just weeks after Celtic coach Ronny Deila lauded his ability and long-term importance to the club amid intense interest from Championship side Leeds United who were poised to table a $2 million offer.

The Norwegian recently said of Rogic, who has overcome a series of injury setbacks to become a fans' favourite at Celtic Park in a breakthrough campaign: "He is definitely one of the players that we would like to keep and we are working towards that just now.

"We talk all the time and we are always looking to work on the squad. He is one of the players that we would like to tie up on a long-term deal.

"He’s very important in our team. He has a lovely technique, he has innovation and is creative. The technical aspect he has is the top level."

However, it appears that with Rogic standing his ground amid increasingly tense negotiations, the club is playing hardball in an attempt to force a climb-down.

Rogic's frustration at Deila's brinkmanship will be compounded by the fact that he missed four games with an ankle injury before his return against Ross County, and is desperate not to lose the momentum he has gained this season.

Celtic’s tough approach will not have gone unnoticed by Postecoglou, who was expecting a match-hardened and fully functioning Rogic to help spearhead the Socceroos into the final phase of qualifying for Russia 2018 by brushing past Tajikistan and Jordan to top Group B, with the games in Adelaide and Sydney next month.


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3 min read
Published 29 February 2016 at 10:58am
By David Lewis