Celtic fan Barry Bannan has encouraged the Hoops to make a move for free agent Steven Fletcher this summer.
Bannan and Fletcher played together at Sheffield Wednesday last season, with the latter hitting 13 goals to save the Owls from dropping down into League One (Transfermarkt).
The Daily Record has reported that Celtic have made contact with Fletcher’s representatives over a potential move. However, they also face heavy competition for his signature, with four alternative offers on the table for the Scotland international.
And Bannan, himself a Scotland international, has urged the Hoops to move swiftly as he talked up his ex-teammate. Speaking in comments published by the Record, here’s what Bannan had to say:
“Steven is one of the best strikers I’ve ever played with. He’s one of those players who, until you actually play alongside him, you don’t understand how good he is. I thought before that with all the headed goals he scores, he was just a big striker type, but you play alongside him and realise he’s nothing like that.
“It’s a no-brainer to sign Fletch. The way the world is at the minute with the pandemic you’re not going to be able to spend really big money no matter what club you are because of the damage caused by no games or crowds.
“When you look at the strikers in the Celtic squad, they have Edouard, Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala but Fletch has something completely different to all of them. Celtic have brilliant players who play behind Edouard such as Ryan Christie, James Forrest and Callum McGregor who like to join in and he’d be absolutely brilliant within that Celtic team.”
Game-time is Fletcher’s biggest concern
We all know the Celtic support is split when it comes to Fletcher. Some couldn’t think of a worse deal to make, whilst others will feel he can add something to the team.
But the Scotland veteran won’t be in his prime for much longer. At 33, this isn’t the kind of signing Celtic regularly make. He wouldn’t be the future of the club, and as such will likely find himself prioritised behind that of strikers the Hoops feel they can develop and sell on for big money.
If you look at it from Fletcher’s perspective, at 33, he’ll want to play regularly for as long as his body allows him to given he’s at the twilight of his career. A move to Celtic would perhaps close up an extremely satisfying career in the game for the former Hibbee, but he would have to know his place in the squad.
Look – Fletcher isn’t the carthorse some make him out to be. 13 goals in 27 appearances last season in England’s second-tier proves he still has something to offer, particularly in Scotland.
The big question mark, however, is whether you sign Fletcher and just throw him in ahead of Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala. If that was to be the case, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the latter in particular given his start to the season.
Then again, the Daily Record has reported that Celtic’s pursuit of a striker is spurred on by the fact that they’re bracing themselves for Odsonne Edouard bids. If Fletcher was a direct replacement for the Frenchman, there would be a lot more anger over the move and there currently is.