Back in January of 2019, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic side were reported to be extremely interested in the signing of a relatively unknown right-back, who went by the name of Timothy Castagne.
Indeed, The Daily Record claimed that the Hoops had made the Atalanta full-back their top priority in the winter window, with Rodgers viewing the Belgium international as a direct replacement for Mikael Lustig – who looked as if he would be leaving Parkhead at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
Should Celtic have paid the £12m for Castagne?
However, despite offering £8m for the then-23-year-old’s services, the Bhoys failed to get a deal over the line for the promising defender, with Atalanta believed to be looking for a figure in the region of £12m in order to sanction the right-back’s sale.
And, in May of 2019, after finding himself much more involved with Gian Piero Gasperini’s first-team squad, Castagne himself revealed just how close he came to joining Celtic, stating: “It’s incredible how quickly things in football can change.
“In December, I wasn’t starting any games and there was an £8m move to Celtic on the table. It looked like I was leaving, but the club wanted £12m and the deal collapsed.
“Since then, having not played for 13 games, I played just about every other game and we qualified for the Champions League. So it’s been an unbelievable turnaround for me.”
However, flash forward 16 months and Castagne would eventually find himself playing for Rodgers, although not at Celtic Park.
Indeed, in September 2020, Leicester City parted with £21.5m in order to bring the then-24-year-old full-back to the King Power, since which time the Belgian has gone on to establish himself as a first-team regular with the Premier League side.
Furthermore, his prominence in the English top-flight has also seen his market value soar, with the £63k-per-week defender now being worth around £25m in today’s market – something that will undoubtedly leave an incredibly sour taste in Celtic mouths.
Indeed, while £12m certainly would have been an eye-catching fee for the Hoops to cough up for a little-known right-back, the 26-year-old who Gerry Taggart dubbed a “proper player” has since proven he would have been well worth the outlay – both financially and in terms of performance – leading us to believe that Celtic had something of a nightmare when missing out on the full-back in 2019.