Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi explains why he jumped at new loan opportunity

By David Walton

February 15, 2022

Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi has explained why he jumped at his newest loan opportunity with Airdrieonians in League One.

The Republic of Ireland under-21 international, who signed for Celtic in 2019, has failed to make an impact at Parkhead. Instead, he’s been sent out on several loan spells with Dunfermline, Dundee, and Ayr in the Championship respectively.

His most recent spell with the Honest Men led to him only bagging 1 goal and 1 assist in 17 appearances [Transfermarkt]. Therefore, he’s now decided to make the drop down a division in a bid to kickstart his career.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

And with a contract at Celtic that expires in the summer of 2023, Afolabi is keen to make a big impression. As quoted by the Daily Record, the former Southampton youngster said: “As soon as the opportunity came up, I knew I would be playing and have the chance to showcase myself, and that it would be a good opportunity.

“Kerr McInroy was here and I see Brody Paterson is here as well, so there’s a good link between the clubs, and it’s a good place to be. They have a good relationship with each other and it seems like a good thing to have.

“It’s better than playing reserve games; once there are points and there are things on the line to lose the game, it’s always better to have that competitive edge. It makes players play better.”

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It’s fair to say Afolabi at Celtic just hasn’t progressed in the way we hoped he would. Remember, when he signed back in the summer of 2019, Neil Lennon stated that he was one that was “on the cusp” of the first-team [Sky Sports].

Make no mistake, the idea would’ve been that come early 2022 Afolabi would’ve already have been making some impact on the first-team. Instead, he’s yet to ever have made a senior appearance for the Hoops. His loan spells just haven’t been profitable enough to catch the attention either.

Of course, it’s important to remember that the striker is only 22. He still has plenty of time to make a successful career for himself in the game. A second-half of the campaign packed with goals in League One would be a fine way to start making an impression.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

He’s shown some good initiative and appetite in recent years to get himself out there and experience first-team football. That has to be commended. But the problem for him has been consistency. In his 3 loan spells combined, only 7 goals have been scored [Transfermarkt]. Everyone would’ve hoped for a much better return.

But it just takes the right club to start getting the best out of a particular player. Hopefully that club can be Airdrieonians. They certainly played a positive impact on Kerr McInroy’s career, who is now looking to shine with Ayr ironically.

Afolabi will be looking to make a similar impact. It’s fair to say he could certainly do with showing some more of the potential we all know exists.

In other news, Matt O’Riley names the most technically impressive player at Celtic