Motherwell are set for big decisions on a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance to shape the club’s future if David Turnbull’s move to Celtic goes through.
Turnbull could sign for Celtic in the coming days after Motherwell accepted a club-record fee for the 19-year-old midfielder on Wednesday.
The boyhood Motherwell fan scored 15 goals in 30 league games this season but his transfer legacy could be a far greater contribution to his side.
The deal is understood to be worth £3million to the fan-owned club with the potential for further add-ons.
The fee would wipe out Motherwell’s debt to former owners John Boyle and Les Hutchison. When Boyle sold his shares to Hutchison for £1 in January 2015, he was owed about £350,000 for a loan dating from financial difficulties caused by the collapse of Setanta TV in 2009.
Hutchison put in more than £1.5million in interest-free loans to plug losses which amounted to about £2million in four seasons from 2011-15, before passing on his shares to the Well Society.
A significant sum has already been paid back, with the help of a record profit of £1.7million from 2017-18, when Motherwell reached two cup finals and benefited from the sales of Louis Moult and Ben Heneghan.
The club were financially secure for the coming season anyway but the fee for Turnbull will allow them to plan further ahead with the only debt being owed to the Well Society, which is not looking to recoup the money.
Chief executive Alan Burrows wrote on Twitter: “If the deal goes through then we’ll take a collective view on what is the best use.
“A part of that will be about trying to strengthen the squad further for sure.
“However, I think it’s important not to blow what could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take the club to a different level when it comes to infrastructure projects around the academy and our youth development programme.
“However, let’s see what happens and then we’ll take stock.”
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson will no doubt expect a boost to his summer transfer plans, which already included a bid to re-sign winger Gboly Ariyibi, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Fir Park.
Burrows wrote: “We’d love to bring him back for sure. We’re in constant contact with Nottingham Forest about trying to see if we can work something out.
“There are various nuances that don’t make it simple, but we’ll be as patient as we can be.”