“Leicester City were ready to pay big money” Sviatchenko claims Celtic threw out £11m bid | OneFootball

“Leicester City were ready to pay big money” Sviatchenko claims Celtic threw out £11m bid

Logo: The Celtic Star

The Celtic Star

Erik Sviatchenko has been giving his version of events of how and why things came to an end at Celtic under Brendan Rodgers.

In an open, frank and illuminating interview with Football Scotland, Erik spoke of his frustration at a big money failed moved to Leicester City, claiming Celtic turned down as much a £11m for his services, only to find within a short period of time he was out the team and soon back to Denmark and FC Midtjylland, initially on loan and then with a permanent deal sanctioned by the club he claims wanted him to stay and considered him a key player.

“It was of course an annoying period. After January 2017, I had just played one full season. I played every single game almost for the first six months under Ronny, and then the first six months under Brendan. “Leicester City were ready to pay big money I think. They had an offer rejected of around £10million or £11m from Celtic. I was really in doubt as well if I wanted to go. So I said to Celtic, ‘Listen, I might stay if it’s okay?’ In the end, Celtic said ‘You are our key player, and we want you to stay’. I think they wanted £13m or something like that. “At that point, Leicester had £15m to pay for two centre-backs, so they said they could maybe pay £7m up front and then loan the other, but Celtic weren’t agreeing to those terms which I respected and thought, ‘Okay, I’ll just be even better for the next season or two and we’ll see what happens and I might have my move one day, because that’s normal in football’.

After a deal of that magnitude being rejected Erik Sviatchenko could be forgiven for considering himself a vital cog in Celtic’s machine, however after initially being a first pick under Brendan Rodgers for six months, he claims following a suspension, he was never convinced of a place in the team and left confused by the mixed message coming from the new manager –

“When we came back, I had a suspension in the first League Cup game where Dedryck [Boyata] and Jozo played. They won, and Dedryck did well, and the next game coming up I thought I would be back in the team because I knew I had been playing all the games, but I was on the bench. “The third game coming up, I was on the bench again, but Jozo had suffered an injury the day before, and one-and-a-half hours before the game, he [Rodgers] said to me, ‘Erik, you are starting’. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll take my chance’. I had man of the match awarded to me, he came to me afterwards in the gym and said, ‘Listen, that’s the way I want you to play. Be more aggressive with the ball, try to penetrate with the ball’. I was lacking a bit of lead in some way and so for three or four games, I was out again and was a regular rotation player. From playing against Lionel Messi to this, it was a bit of a contrast.”

David Turnbull left and Midtjylland s Erik Sviatchenko Photo: Jeff Holmes

At the end of the season Sviatchenko regrouped and came back from the summer break determined to stake his claim for a starting spot in Rodgers team, and initially the Celtic Invincible took his chance before an injury against Rosenborg, and then a re-occurrence soon after, put him out the team for three months and seemingly out of mind for the Celtic manager.

“We came to the summer, I hadn’t played that much but I thought I’d come back after the break. It started really well. He trusted me and wanted me to play the second leg in Rosenborg after Kristoffer Ajer had had his first game against Rosenborg at home, he did really well. “But anyway, he came to me, he wanted experience and a guy who knew what it was all about. I suffered an injury in that game and was out for three months whilst Dedryck was maybe three or four weeks ahead of me in the rehabilitation period. “He came back into the team again, and I came back maybe in the September month and had a reinjury and needed three weeks more. And then in October, November and December there were a bunch of games where I really, really hoped that I could get just one minute to show the Celtic fans and everyone that I was actually ready.”

Gonzales Photo/Morten Kjaer

And for Sviatchenko there is a clear frustration that he never really got the opportunity to prove to the manager, or indeed the fans, that he was fully recovered from injury and get that run of games that would have evidenced he was more than capable of playing a long-term role with a club he clearly loved playing for.

“But that’s the worst part of it, that I never actually had a game after my injury at Rosenborg. That annoys me, even though it’s been so many years now, I’m in a different place and playing my best football ever. It’s the thing that annoys me about my Celtic career, that particular moment, that he never gave me the chance even though he said he would. “One day we’ll sit down and he’ll tell me why I didn’t play because I knew I had the level, I’m showing it today. It’s football sometimes and what can you do about it?”

Erik Sviatchenko will always be considered a fine member of one of Celtic’s greatest ever teams, but it seems his time with Celtic is also tinged with both regret and no little confusion as to why it ended as it did without a chance to prove his point.

He may well get the answers he’s looking for one day from Brendan Rodgers, but given the mixed messages he had at the time, perhaps it’s best not to hold out for the genuine reasons on that one.

Instead Sviatchenko will always be remembered by the support for the part he played as a Celtic Invincible – and that’s not a bad claim to Celtic fame.

Niall J

More Stories / Latest

Mentioned in this article

View publisher imprint