As the Hoops announced a new deal for Conor Hazard this week, it’s time for the likes of Leigh Griffiths to start working towards a fresh Celtic contract.
So much of the speculation and concerns regarding player’s long-term futures have been focused on the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Scott Brown, and Kris Ajer. No wonder, They’re three of our most valuable individuals. Not in terms of what they’re worth, but in terms of what they offer the club.
Whisper it quietly though – Griffiths’ deal is up in the summer of 2022. His deal is up at the same tie Edouard’s and Ajer’s come to an end. But not many appear to be talking about it or clamouring for a new deal for Griff.
There’s a reason for that. The Scotland international has been next to anonymous this season. In our hunt for the 10, Griffiths has only managed to bag seven goals all campaign. This from a centre-forward we should be really seeing 20-per-season from.
His opportunities have been limited this term. He’s managed 20 appearances, and enough of them have been from the starting XI or substantial cameo appearances from the bench [WhoScored]. Yet throughout those outings, Griff hasn’t done anywhere near enough to merit staying in the team.
Leigh Griffiths must impress in pre-season or new Celtic contract will be in danger
Leigh no longer has the safety net he once did of a long-term contract. When Brendan Rodgers arrived back in 2016 and looked to overhaul our front-line, Griff was already tied down for two more years. He had plenty of time to impress.
That’s not the case next season. He has a new manager that he’s going to have to pull all of the stops out for. If he doesn’t, he could find himself out of the team for prolonged periods. Just as he has been at times this season.
If something similar happens next year, he’ll be out the door next summer or maybe even earlier. He can’t afford another season of single-digit goals. Something that looks almost certain this year.
He has a massive opportunity ahead of him too. Edouard looks likely to be out the door. The likes of Albian Ajeti and Patryk Klimala have also both struggled to prove themselves as being better than an on-form Griffiths. He has the quality within him to be a major player here. Remember, he’s only 30 years of age. It’s not as if he’s into his final year or two as a footballer.
But there’s a reason he looks a massive doubt to get regular minutes at this summer’s European Championships. His club form simply hasn’t been up to par.
Hopefully, we see a flick of the switch from Griffiths come the summer. His 40-goal season under Ronny Deila was a long time ago. It’s time for him to show us something fresh.