Patryk Klimala: the potential Celtic departure which sums up Nick Hammond Era

By Euan Davidson

April 2, 2021

Patryk Klimala had the dice loaded against him from the start at Celtic.

Signed in January 2020, the Polish striker was one of Nick Hammond’s first major deals as the “transfer guru”. With a £3.5m fee going Jagiellonia Bialystok’s way [Daily Record], the youngster had fans excited with highlights. But with Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti to contend with, for a manager that had mostly played 1 up front, it never looked like being a fruitful move.

For one thing, numbers don’t lie. Klimala had only once topped 10 league goals in a season, with Wigry Suwalki in Poland’s third-tier [Transfermarkt]. Sure, there was potential, but he’s only been able to show that in flashes for the Bhoys.

His “baptism of fire”, or your preferred cliché, was handed to him against Rangers. In Celtic’s 0-2 home defeat [BBC], Klimala was put up front alongside winger Mohamed Elyounoussi, for an injury-ravaged Hoops team. The inevitable happened.

Now, none of this is to say that Klimala couldn’t have been a success at Celtic Park. He still could be, theoretically. But it looks like New York Red Bulls are going to pounce for one of our players again [Sun]. The Sun are suggesting a loan deal could be in place, which is an offer Celtic really should accept.

Patryk Klimala: a torturous time so far / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Patryk Klimala: an unfortunate symptom of deeper Celtic malaise

It’s unfortunate for the Celtic striker.

Perhaps in an earlier season, the former Poland U21 striker could’ve been eased into the side more gently. A few sub appearances here and there, a Cup game or two. Much in the same way Odsonne Edouard was utilised in his initial spell at the club, so, too, could have been the case for Polish Paddy.

The reality though, is different. The outlay on him was largely unjustified, and he is not the kind of striker best utilised in the system that Neil Lennon or John Kennedy want to play. He’s cut a frustrated figure in the Green and White, and he’s evidence that Nick Hammond’s scatter-gun transfer approach was misguided.

It’s always a bad sign, for me, if Celtic sign someone without any competition. That was largely the case for Klimala. At least Edouard had been talked up, after a loan spell at Toulouse and some impressive figures for France. It’s hard to identify who spotted the Polish striker, and in fairness, mining the Eastern European league for talents is theoretically a good idea.

It’s not over for Klimala at Celtic. Alongside Andrew Gutman and Cameron Harper at NYRB, he’d been in familiar company if he makes the move. He’d need to do a hell of a lot to get back in the Celtic reckoning, though.

We can only wish him well, regardless of his next steps. Unfortunately, though, he’s a symptom of a difficult era.

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