THERE promise to be a few more unexpected twists and surprising turns in the David Turnbull transfer saga in the days ahead before we discover which club the gifted Motherwell playmaker will be plying his trade at in the coming seasons.

Will Turnbull end up joining Celtic after all despite the Scottish champions taking to Twitter on Friday to state they wouldn’t increase their offer to him? Or will Barnsley, Bristol City, Southampton or Sheffield Wednesday be the next port of call for the sought-after starlet? Stay tuned to find out.


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The word coming out of the Turnbull camp over the weekend is that the 19-year-old wants to move where he will be best placed to further his career and not simply where he will be paid the most money.

Is that the treble Treble winners? Not necessarily. He will find it harder to get a regular game at the Ladbrokes Premiership winners than he would at, say, a Championship club down south due to the intense competition for places. At his age, he needs to play on a weekly basis in order to continue his development and fulfil his vast potential.

For every promising player who has moved to the Glasgow giants and flourished in the past there are several others who have struggled to get a start and departed after enduring unhappy spells on the sidelines. Scott Allan, the gifted if mercurial midfielder who has returned to Hibernian this summer, was one. He didn’t kick a ball last season.

Many Celtic supporters will be keen for their club to reopen negotiations. Getting Turnbull on board makes sense for them on a number of different fronts. His capture could very well enable them to maintain their domestic dominance for years to come.

When it emerged that Celtic were keen to sign John McGinn from Hibernian last summer he was instantly hailed as the player who could in time replace Scott Brown both in central midfield and even potentially as captain one day.

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That move, of course, fell through. Brown, meanwhile, is not getting any younger. He will turn 34 next week and his time at the highest level is, despite his fitness levels and hunger for success, approaching an end.

Turnbull, who netted 15 goals in 31 appearances in the 2018/19 season, isn’t the same kind of player. He poses far more of an attacking threat. But he is certainly the sort of outstanding individual who can be a lynchpin of the side for years to come. He would be a shrewd long-term investment whatever he cost.

But Celtic’s unwillingness to get embroiled in a bidding war is entirely understandable.

Peter Lawwell, their chief executive, and his fellow directors run a tight ship, as their annual accounts testify, and aren’t prone to deviating from their long-standing business model.

They have their entire wage structure to consider here. Should they cede to demands for £20,000 a week then Turnbull will become one of their highest earners alongside Brown, Odsonne Edouard, Craig Gordon, Scott Sinclair and Kieran Tierney. A consequence of that will be that other established players on less come looking for rises.

Some fans will point to the fact that their interim results showed they had £38.6 million cash in the bank after tax back in February and suggest they can afford to loosen the purse strings a little.

But that money can quickly disappear. Should Celtic fail to reach the Champions League group stages once again next season, for example, then their revenue will fall. If a wage bill that doubled during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure goes up further their position could become far less stable.

As events across the city and elsewhere in recent years have shown in it pays to be prudent in the modern game. They are unable to compete with second tier clubs down south when it comes to the wages they offer and are safeguarding the club for future generations by continuing to conduct their business sensibly.