Confirmed: Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi leaves for Ayr United on loan

By David Walton

August 2, 2021

Celtic striker Jonathan Afolabi has had a loan move to Ayr United confirmed today.

Afolabi, who signed for Celtic back in 2019 under Neil Lennon, is embarking on his third loan spell since joining the club. His previous loan periods came at Dunfermline Athletic and Dundee respectively.

The striker hasn’t seen any action under new manager Ange Postecoglou.

Ayr have confirmed the player in tonight’s matchday squad to face Kilmarnock in their Ayrshire Derby clash. This comes after Afolabi trained with his new teammates yesterday.

Afolabi has yet to make a senior appearance for the Celtic first-team.

Celtic man Jonathan Afolabi simply had to leave; Ayr United a good move

This makes sense for all parties given the circumstances. Afolabi simply had to depart given he’s been nowhere near Postecoglou’s plans since taking over. After spending two loan spells away from the club, he couldn’t go back into a year of not playing senior games.

The move to Ayr United allows him to keep on playing and provides him with the best opportunity to keep developing.

But the fact is we’re now into year three of Afolabi’s Celtic career and he’s no closer to the first-team than when he joined. After arriving from Southampton, Neil Lennon claimed he was close to first-team involvement [BBC].

Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images

Unfortunately, that’s just not materialised. Yet the truth is that Afolabi isn’t the only one. Luca Connell and Lee O’Connor arrived in that summer of 2019 and are in the same boat. Both men are also in dire need of loan moves this summer.

It points to a worrying lack of career development at the football club. Too many players struggling to make that breakthrough from the youth squads. Afolabi falls into that bracket.

Fingers crossed he finally makes a success of it in the Championship however. Despite having two previous loan spells in the second-tier, he hasn’t managed to make himself a regular. Hopefully third time’s the charm.

In other news, Josh Doig to Celtic would solve one of Ange Postecoglou’s key Parkhead issues