Celtic stuck by their wage offer to David Turnbull as they believed bending to his demands to go outside their pay structure would have sparked a player revolt.
Having had a £3-million bid accepted by Motherwell, the Hoops offered their target personal terms worth over £12,000 a week.
That was rejected by the player and his representative, Liam O’Donnell, who told the club’s negotiators they would need to up their offer to £20,000 a week.
Such a figure, though, would immediately make the 19-year-old among the half-dozen highest earners at the club.
Only five players – skipper Scott Brown, record £9m signing Odsonne Edouard, keeper Craig Gordon, Scott Sinclair and Kieran Tierney – are on better terms.
Crucially, Turnbull would have been earning more than treble-Treble winners, such as James Forrest, Callum McGregor, Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham.
A source close to the club said: “All these guys are way more experienced than the lad Turnbull, who has played just over 30 games for Motherwell.
“They’ve done, and won, much more in the game.
“Therefore, to have handed him a deal more lucrative than they were on would have been asking for trouble.
“They knew it would have led to a stream of players and agents chapping at their door, looking for improved terms.
“That is not the way they work. They have a structure in place.
“There can always be exceptions to the rule, but it is adhered to.
“Their position, as has been stated, is that they have already made the player a magnificent offer – and that is that.”
The Scotland Under-21 internationalist has been tracked by a number of English clubs, including Barnsley, who made a failed bid of £1m, and Southampton.
However, with Motherwell having no other acceptable offers on the table outside of Celtic’s, the breakdown of the move will mean Turnbull returning to a contract worth less than £1,000 a week.
And as much as he has stated another year at Fir Park with regular first-team football will do his career no harm at all, going back after having come so close to a potentially life-changing deal would not be easy.
The Steelmen, for their part, stand to miss out on their club record fee.
Chief Executive Alan Burrows has been frank about the sum, stating it would offer a “once in a lifetime chance” to improve the club.
Now their transfer plans and infrastructure work are both on hold.
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