Noel Whelan has tipped Ryan Christie to hold off on committing on a new Celtic contract until the end of the season amid “options from other clubs”.
The former Leeds United and Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, has suggested the attacking midfielder will want to keep his options open.
As revealed by Football Insider, Celtic are set to launch a fresh attempt to tie the 25-year-old to a new deal before the summer transfer window opens.
With the attacker’s current terms set to expire in 2022, this summer represents the last chance for the Hoops to pick up a substantial transfer fee for his exit.
With a decision to be made over his contract, Whelan has suggested Christie will leave Celtic sweating over a potential four-year deal.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think it’s a case of maybe he’s seeing and keeping his options open at the minute.
“I think sometimes, when you’ve been at football club for a while, and the season has not gone to plan really for Celtic at all, I think sometimes you take a step back and you don’t need to rush into these things.
“I’m sure he’s got options from other clubs but he’s got to make sure that it’s right because the next one he signs is going to be long term for three to four years and he needs to know, you can’t just sign for a club because the contract’s put in your face.
“You’ve got to do it for the right reasons and your right footballing reasons and maybe he feels like he needs to change, maybe he feels like he needs a new challenge.
“I think it’s just about being patient here with the young man. It’s alright wanting somebody and it’s alright wanting someone to sign and transfer in the window, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get what you want. It’s got to be right for both parties and I think that’s the key.
“You don’t want to sign a contract and then be unhappy, you don’t want to sign it just for the money and be unhappy and you should have gone somewhere else or you’re not enjoying it as much as you thought you would.
“You want a happy player, you want to do the right thing for the player, but the player has got to do the right thing for himself as well. This will not be concluded until after the season, I would not have thought.”
Christie has been a regular for Neil Lennon’s men this term, with 31 appearances, five goals and 13 assists under his belt across all competitions.
However, the 16-cap Scotland international had suffered a dip in form and went over three months without netting in the Premiership.