League One sensation Dion Charles has certainly turned things around this season.
Let go by Blackpool as a youngster, Charles is just 25 but has had something of a nomadic career. In 17-18, he spent a year in the National League with FC Halifax Town. He made little impression there, moving on to Southport FC. Three appearances, no goals [Transfermarkt].
So why is his name appearing on a Celtic website? Well, as the Bhoys continue to mine the lower tiers of England for promising talent, Charles’ is a name that should be on the radar. Charles has scored 17 League One goals for Accrington Stanley this season, and a host of clubs are after him. The Sun are suggesting that Derby County and Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff are keen.
With Albian Ajeti and Patryk Klimala, we’ve seen that spending millions doesn’t guarantee success. Both could still potentially come good at Celtic Park. However, with so many gaps to fill this summer, bargains will need to be found. Charles is potentially out of contract this year, but Stanley have a team option to extend his stay for another season.
With Leigh Griffiths likely out the door in the summer, and not even mentioning Odsonne Edouard’s situation, going cheap for a League One talent might not sound like the most tempting idea. Stay with me, though.
Dion Charles: international team-mate of Conor Hazard
Charles recently made his Northern Ireland debut, in a 2-1 loss to the USA. As a result, his transfer value will have increased but he’s still more than affordable for the Bhoys.
Given that we’re looking at other League One talents, like Kyle Joseph and Siriki Dembélé, it’s not outlandish to suggest that value can be found. We’ve enjoyed success with lower-tier gems before; Gary Hooper was at Scunthorpe before he joined the Bhoys, going on to score 82 times for Celtic.
Realistically, if we’re going to construct an almost entirely new team, we can’t take £3m risks. It’s just not feasible, unless the next manager has upwards of £30m+ to spend on players. That just seems beyond Celtic’s means, given the size of the league we play in, and the TV revenue available to us.
So, should Celtic battle Wayne Rooney and Mick McCarthy here?
His 57% shot accuracy is more than impressive [BBC]. A sharp, right-footed finisher, Charles averages a goal every 177 minutes in League One, but plays for a side who garner fewer opportunities than counterparts like Hull City or Peterborough. You could compare his strike rate to someone like Kevin Nisbet, who boasts a slightly better goals per 90 ratio [BBC].
Charles would most likely be cheaper than the Hibs man. At the very least, his impressive form has won him international action and the attention of clubs further up the pyramid.
After missing out on Ivan Toney, Celtic really could do far worse than trying their luck in England once more.