Exclusive: Jackie McNamara on the unfortunate Vakoun Bayo and his imminent French move

By John McGinley

August 8, 2020

After a slow start to our summer transfer business, the recruitment situation at Celtic is heating up both in terms of moves in and out of the club.

Celtic have already added Vasilis Barkas to the squad as a replacement for Fraser Forster, while Mohamed Elyounoussi’s loan from Southampton was also extended for another season.

That’s definitely the kind of quality we want to see arrive in Glasgow as the side pushes for ten-in-a-row.

However, there’s still a bit of work to be done.

With some fringe players needing moves elsewhere and key positions weaker than they should be, manager Neil Lennon, Head of Football Operations Nick Hammond and Chief Executive Peter Lawwell have a busy couple of months ahead.

One bit of business on the verge of being completed is striker Vakoun Bayo’s switch to newly relegated Ligue 2 side Toulouse.

As reported by The Scottish Sun, he’s been pictured in their colours ahead of an unveiling, although it’s not yet clear whether the deal will be a loan or on a permanent basis.

Lennon had previously discussed that a temporary move away from the club was on the cards for the Ivorian after stuttering progress on the fringes of the first-team squad.

Celtic striker Vakoun Bayo / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We asked Celtic legend and 67 Hail Hail pundit Jackie McNamara this week whether a loan to a Scottish side or a loan abroad would be more beneficial for Bayo in terms of making a future impact at Paradise.

There’s an argument that a domestic move, to a team like St Mirren for instance, could have allowed him to further adjust to the Scottish game, potentially helping his Celtic progress.

McNamara thinks the 23-year-old is already suited to Premiership football though, telling us: “Bayo’s more than capable of handling the physical side, he is physical. I liked little bits about him from what I’d seen. He’s been very unfortunate with injuries and muscle tears and hamstrings.

“If he went to somewhere like France, it may be more to put him in the shop window and if he does well they’re able to reinvest that. So I can understand both sides.

“The most important thing is if he’s not going to feature much to get him out and get him game time, especially if Lennon is going to bring someone else in.

“The club have been linked with a few strikers while Patryk Klimala has also come back from pre-season and is looking a good bit stronger.”

Vakoun Bayo celebrates a Celtic goal / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On the topic of incoming players this summer, McNamara would go on to highlight one area that he does think needs to be strengthened before the deadline on October 5th, telling 67 Hail Hail: “It’s another centre-back for me. If Chris Jullien or Kris Ajer get injured, you’ve got [Hatem Abd] Elhamed but there’s just three of them.”

I don’t think there’ll be many Celtic fans disagreeing with that ahead of European qualifiers and, hopefully, group stage action.

Jullien and Ajer have proven largely reliable over the last 12 months but another body in there competing for places is necessary after the exit of Jozo Simunovic.

We need to be fully prepared for the challenges ahead both at home and on the continent.

You can hear more of Jackie McNamara’s Celtic thoughts on our YouTube channel where we’ve been uploading interview videos on a variety of issues at the champions.