Socceroos playmaker Tom Rogic remains “highly valued” by Celtic but on-loan winger Daniel Arzani will need to leave the Scottish champions to find “regular football and fulfill his potential”.
By
Dave Lewis

24 Feb 2020 - 6:09 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2020 - 6:09 PM

That’s the assessment of Hoops great turned Brisbane Roar striker Scott McDonald, as he scrutinises the options available to the Australian pair - who have accumulated just 704 senior minutes between them across all competitions this season, Rogic 699 and fledgling Socceroo Arzani only five.

After seven seasons at Celtic Park, Rogic’s future has come under scrutiny like never before, with the weekend start for the leaders in the 3-1 win over Kilmarnock just his fifth in the Scottish Premiership, with a further nine appearances off the bench for Neil Lennon’s men.

Rogic, 27, is contracted until mid-2023, and McDonald - who banged in 59 goals in 117 games for the Bhoys - believes Celtic would demand a hefty transfer fee and patience might be the best policy in winning back a coveted starting spot.

Though Rogic made his first league start in nearly three months against Killie, McDonald said: “It’s been a frustrating time for both him and Daniel.

“Tommy has been a victim a bit of injuries he’s sustained, especially so last season, and this season players like Ryan Christie have been chosen ahead of him, although even he now is struggling to be picked.

“Celtic have changed their shape into a 3-5-2 with no number 10, and that’s Tommy’s position.

“It’s made it tough for him but he can still come in and change games and that makes him highly valued by the club.

“For him, right now, it’s a bit of a waiting game. He signed a long contract a year ago and I imagine he’ll be on good terms.

“From that point of view, does he want to move? And if he does, can somebody afford to pay the transfer fee Celtic would want (likely around the $10 million mark).

“They’d ask for a decent sum because they are very shrewd in the way they do business and wouldn’t let him go cheap, even though he’s not played so many minutes this season.”

McDonald believes Rogic’s quality - never better exemplified than when he scored a superb solo injury time winner against Aberdeen in the 2017 Scottish Cup Final - can shine through again.

“It’s a matter of being patient ... it’s in his own hands now and there’ll be other opportunities for him between now and the end of the season to start matches,” he said.

“He might have other thoughts and there will be other options for him if he wants to look that way.

“But at the same time Celtic has been a great place for him over the years, and I’m sure there’s still a future there for him. Knowing both parties, I’d say they’d still be happy at this moment in time.”

Arzani, 20, ruptured his ACL in his Hoops debut 16 months ago, and has made just a single appearance off the bench since his recovery.

With his two-year loan from Manchester City due to expire in May, McDonald sees a breakthrough at Celtic as a bridge too far, and a move elsewhere as the best strategy to get his career clicking again.

“I was at the game against Dundee where he got injured (20 minutes into his debut) and it looked pretty innocuous,” he recalled.

“It’s been a real shame for him but slowly but surely he’s got his fitness back and one my best mates is Celtic reserves assistant coach Stephen McManus, who tells me how well Daniel has been doing, how strong he’s looking and what a good prospect he is.

“We’re lucky that he’s still very young but with Celtic chasing silverware again, I think he’ll probably be looking elsewhere (for game time).

“After this season, he’ll need to sit down with his advisors and the City Football Group and decide what’s the best move for Daniel to play senior football and achieve what we all think he’s capable of.

“Celtic have so much depth - Mohamed Elyounoussi is struggling for minutes on loan from Southampton and Scott Sinclair couldn’t get a game.

“So it’s tough for Daniel to even get into an 18-man squad for a Saturday. I feel his frustration and I know he’s working really hard and is champing at the bit.

“When he left Melbourne City there was huge hope that he’d kick on and go somewhere and play every week but it’s just not worked out that way.

“There’s no question he’s probably our most talented young player and it would be great to see him progress.”