The clock is ticking on Daniel Arzani’s Celtic future with an agreement in place to send the young Australian gun back to parent club Manchester City should he fail to land a first-team appearance by December.
When the 19-year-old attacker joined the Hoops on a two-year loan in August, it was anticipated he would quickly have figured in coach Brendan Rodgers' plans off the back of his 2018 FIFA World Cup cameos for Australia.
But he has yet to feature in the senior squad, and with question marks beginning to surface over whether Rodgers intends to use him at all - other than with the Academy team - The World Game can reveal Arzani’s get-out clause.
He effectively has six weeks left to convince Rodgers he is worthy of first-team consideration, with the coach initially shedding doubts over his match fitness.
But, according to sources in Glasgow, the belief is that Rodgers may have been using that as a smokescreen - and he simply isn’t ready to take a gamble on the brightest young spark in Australian football.
Should the loan agreement between City and Celtic reach a premature termination - as per the contractual prerequisite of game-time by December - Arzani would be loaned out elsewhere.
Prior to heading to the UK to join Pep Guardiola’s fold from feeder club Melbourne City, Arzani - currently in Kuwait with the national team - had interest from the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany.
While unlikely to start for the Socceroos in the international in Kuwait City on Tuesday morning (AEDT), coach Graham Arnold is almost certain to grant him game-time and the chance to produce some razzle-dazzle moments for Rodgers to ponder.
In a sub-plot to Arzani’s frustrations with Celtic, Rodgers’ own future is also under scrutiny with recent links to Aston Villa and now Newcastle United for the former Liverpool boss.
Rodgers’ unwillingness to give Arzani a break recently came under fire from Gold Coast-based Hoops great Willie Wallace.
“Arzani is a good little player, and Brendan Rodgers disappointed me on that one,” Wallace said.
“He’s saying it’s going to be a while before he plays. Well, why are Celtic paying the wages and not Man City?
“If I was the board at Celtic, I’d have kicked the manager’s a*** out the door.
“Why would you take Arzani for two years if he isn’t going to play in your team? The kid, for me, will finish up a better player than James Forrest.
“When I heard Rodgers say he wasn’t ready, I was baffled. Why take the boy if he thinks he’s not ready?
“If I was the lad, I’d ask to go back to City or go somewhere else to get a game.”