Celtic will need strikers, in the incredibly likely event that at least two more forwards leave the club this summer.
Odsonne Edouard has been linked to everyone from Real Madrid to your 5-a-side team. It seems most likely he’ll be headed to the Premier League next season, and that Celtic will recoup double the £9m record fee [Sky Sports] that we paid for the French striker.
So, provided that does happen, who fills the space Edouard will vacate? Reliable 20-goal strikers aren’t exactly ten-a-penny. Even mediocre strikers are worth plenty of money in the post-Neymar transfer market. That makes finding gems like French Eddy all the more difficult.
Even more so when you’re talking about young players. Really, looking back, what a fantastic signing he was, plucked from the PSG Academy. Whether you like his celebrations or not, you have to be sitting there, thinking “that’s tremendous value”.
So, who steps in? Here are three valid candidates that the Bhoys could smash our transfer record for. We’re talking goals, folks, and those don’t come cheaply these days.
Jean-Pierre Nsame: already linked with Celtic, well worth the money
Jean-Pierre Nsame is surely the most obvious candidate, so we’ll get him out of the way first. But make no mistake: the Young Boys striker would be a bona fide marquee signing.
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In April, TEAMtalk put Celtic’s name in the hunt for the Cameroonian, and that’s exciting in itself. Premier League sides are also on high alert regarding the striker’s availability, and it’s clear to see why: Nsame has scored 97 goals and made 27 assists in 171 outings for Young Boys [Transfermarkt].
That’s frankly ridiculous, and at a very competitive level, too. It’s not just the Swiss league where the electric 28-year-old has shone, with vital goals in YB’s impressive Europa League run.
Granted, nearing 30, Nsame might not be the best choice in terms of resale value. However, sacrifices will need to be made in order to return Celtic to dominance. Splashing out on a 28-year-old striker with a frightening goal return is perhaps the move Celtic need to make for the immediate future. If we can get three prolific seasons out the Cameroon international, then it’s very good business indeed.
Thomas Henry: the striker lighting up Belgium – Celtic next?
Well-travelled Frenchman Thomas Henry is a name you might’ve seen on these pages before. At 26, Henry is something of a late bloomer in footballing terms, but that shouldn’t put us off.
With 21 league goals at the time of writing, OH Leuven’s centre-forward has been banging them in. He’s also more than handy at providing opportunities, chipping in with 7 assists over the 20-21 campaign. While Celtic would arguably be his first “big” club, it’s more than likely he could adapt to the Premiership.
At 6’2″, Henry represents a physical and technical threat. He’s not in “nice touch for a big man” territory, but he’s an aerial threat as well as a technically sound attacker, a pure centre-forward who can easily lead a front-three on his own. That’s a bit like Edouard, and while he’s not a youthful choice, neither was John Hartson, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink or Chris Sutton.
Henry has spoken about a potential move, saying [Sport/Foot]:
“Why would I refuse to have ambitions? There’s no reason to hide. Of course I want to [move to a bigger club].
“Do I have the level? It’s not for me to say. I’m already very happy with my journey, but why not dream of going even higher?”
Why not indeed.
Georgios Giakoumakis: yes – he’s called Georgios.
A Greek striker called Georgios is hardly a tough sell for Celtic supporters, but VVV Venlo striker Georgios Giakoumakis is a different kind of player.
Now, don’t take too much from highlight reels, but after watching some of Giakoumakis’ (Jack-ooh-mack-iss) goals, it’s clear there’s a very exciting player, here. He’s more than adept at penalties, taking aerial chances, being an utter poacher and pulling off the spectacular, on occasion.
His goal tally of 25 in 29 league games speaks for itself [Transfermarkt], but it’s the sheer range of goals that’s most impressive. In January 2021, he scored 11 times, topping his career best for a season in just one month [New York Times]. That’s impressive in and of itself, but bear this mind: Venlo are one of the Eredivisie’s whipping boys this season, having scored 42 goals in total at the time of writing [Sky Sports].
That’s phenomenal, especially in a side who don’t exactly create a whole host of chances. Another late bloomer he may be, but this kind of goal return is absolutely formidable. Valued at just £2m by Transfermarkt, expect a bidding war to reach 8 figure sums [HITC]. That being the case, Celtic should really go for the next great Georgios.