8-goal Celtic forward Vakoun Bayo deserves fresh start; has plenty to offer new manager

By Sean Clifford

April 6, 2021

Vakoun Issouf Bayo has become something of a forgotten man at Celtic in recent times.

After being acquired from Dunajská Streda in 2019 under Brendan Rodgers, the Ivorian has barely featured for the Hoops since.

Making only 17 appearances for Celtic, many would be forgiven for overlooking the fact he is still currently on the books at the Glasgow club [Transfermarkt].

Despite this, the 24-year-old appears to have undergone a re-birth at French Ligue 2 side Toulouse where he is presently on loan [BBC]. Given the scale of senior players set to exit Parkhead this summer, should Celtic give the marksman a second chance?

Why should the front-man be given another opening at Celtic?

Intriguingly, he has all the attributes prevalent in a modern-day centre-forward. Utilised correctly, his pace, power and strength could trouble opposition defenders domestically and in Europe. Coupled with his aerial ability and finishing prowess, he could be the perfect alternative striker for the Hoops next season.

In spite of having four high-calibre strikers, Celtic have not created enough goalscoring opportunities from cross balls in 2020/21. Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti are more inclined to thrive from one-touch penalty box finishes on the deck, whereas Odsonne Edouard usually takes up a deeper role in the Celts attacking play.

Patryk Klimala also retains qualities of a different nature to the Ivory Coast international. Whereas, Bayo’s eagerness to attack the ball could give an offensive changeability to Celtic next season.

Vakoun Bayo in Celtic training / (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group via Getty Images)

The Hoops have become predictable going forward of late, leading to a high quality of shots from outside the box. Celtic average 16.7 shots per game, yet only 6.5 are roughly on target which is a poor indication of chance optimization [WhoScored].

Statistically, Bayo has notched eight goals and two assists in 25 appearances this season [Transfermarkt]. Testing himself against similar opposition to the Scottish Premiership, there is scope he could convert this form for Celtic. Reaching what he described as a ‘physical shape he has never experienced’, Bayo could be of use to a Celtic team who have looked fatigued for long periods this year [Daily Record].

Positionally, Odsonne Edouard looks set to depart Celtic in the summer. Whilst there are question marks over Griffiths and Klimala moving into next campaign. At present, Bayo looks to be a more appealing option as a third-choice striker for Celtic looking into 2021/22.