Celtic’s interest in Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland has apparently been “cooled”.
The Scottish Daily Mail (20/01, page 86) believes that the Hoops have lowered their level of interest in the forward after signing Patryk Klimala. Klimala’s signing cost Celtic £3.5million, and his outlay always suggested that he would be playing a key role this season (Scottish Sun).
And it appears as though that acquisition has meant that Shankland likely won’t be pursued much further.
However, that didn’t stop Tosh McKinlay going to view him in yesterday’s 2-2 draw between Dundee United and Hibernian (Scottish Sun). Shankland scored in that one to take his tally for the season to 25 goals (Transfermarkt).
McKinlay’s visit comes a week after Klimala’s signing, and it’s also the third time a Celtic scout has been at a United game in recent times. It was McKinlay who initially went to watch Shankland back in October (Daily Record), before Nick Hammond went over to view him over a week ago at Firhill (Scottish Sun).
Dropped interest would make sense given the circumstances
Interestingly, Shankland has now scored seven goals in front of Celtic’s scouts. Seldom would a player have that kind of record and still not have his interest acted upon by his suitors.
But you also can’t deny that the dropped interest would make perfect sense. If Celtic managed to recruit Shankland without the promise of anyone else leaving, it would mean we had five strikers on the books.
Even if Neil Lennon was to play with two up top, that still leaves three forwards on the sidelines. We know that Odsonne Edouard isn’t going anywhere, whilst Klimala has only just arrived and Leigh Griffiths is on the comeback trail.
The Celtic boss also dismissed the idea that Vakoun Bayo will be leaving on loan imminently (Scottish Sun). Therefore, you can’t say a spot in this side is going to open up for Shankland.
It remains to be seen whether we do drop the interest totally. There’s no guarantee that McKinlay was there on Celtic’s behalf, but it would seem bizarre for him not to be. If he was, it would suggest that our interest hasn’t totally been dropped.
But the report from the Daily Mail reads sensibly. There are other areas that now must take priority. It looks as though that may be Lennon’s way of thinking too.