January saw Celtic decide to move one of their younger talents on. Liam Henderson was the player in question, with the chance of first-team football at Parkhead looking increasingly unlikely.
After not making the grade at Celtic, Henderson’s next destination surprised many. The 21-year-old headed to Italy, joining Serie B side Bari in mid-January.
Bari have a history of signing British players. The likes of Aston Villa legend Gordon Cowans, Everton’s 1995 FA Cup hero Paul Rideout and former England star David Platt are all former Bari players.
But Henderson was the first Brit to join the side for a generation. Therefore joining the Italian’s, currently managed by 2006 World Cup hero Fabio Grosso, certainly came as a shock.
Even more shocking? The price-tag that has been unveiled by the Serie B promotion chasers.
Bari’s sporting director Sean Sogliano explained, as quoted by the Daily Record:
“Liam Henderson’s transfer was seven months in the making for us.
“We ended up signing him for only €130,000 [£115,000]. Last year we were told he would cost €2 million [£1.77 million].”
The fee has certainly concerned Celtic fans. Many cannot believe the Bhoys sold Henderson for such an alarmingly low fee. Now it is looking like it may come back to haunt them.
Henderson has hit the ground running at Bari. At the weekend he scored his first goal for the club. In doing so he became the first Scot to score in Italian football since Graeme Souness for Sampdoria. Henderson also provided the assist as Bari overcame Ternana 2-1.
Celtic were aware of his talent. The playmaking forward performed well on previous loan spells at Rosenborg and Hibernian there was just simply no room for him in Glasgow and his future did seem away from the club.
His contract at Celtic was due to end in the summer. It appears the club decided to cash in for as little as they could, rather than lose him to a foreign club for nothing.
Such savvy transfer market working makes sense on a business level. However, given how well the forward has started at Bari, and his young age, Celtic could be left ruing the measly fee they received for their homegrown talent in the future.