Uche Ikpeazu's Celtic link seems a long time ago now
It wasn’t that long ago that Uche Ikpeazu to Celtic was doing the rounds, but it certainly doesn’t feel like that.
The Tynecastle bruiser was reportedly interesting Neil Lennon and co as recently as October (West London Sport). Thankfully, nothing ever came of it.
For since then, Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has appeared to realise what Craig Levein didn’t for too long – that the big striker isn’t as big a threat to opposition sides as his physique would suggest.
And it looks as though Celtic got away with one in not taking any interest further. Ikpeazu has only scored two goals all season. They came against Motherwell and Hibernian in back-to-back matches in September (Transfermarkt).
But after going on a barren run of seven games without a goal, Levein initially started bringing him on as a sub for two games before he was sacked. Stendel came in and gave Ikpeazu starts against Hamilton, Hibernian, and Aberdeen respectively, but again his inefficiency has led to him being benched ever since.
Stendel appears to be losing faith in Ikpeazu
Stendel has since been calling him up for cameos in Hearts’ last four league games. He even left the towering front-man on the bench as an unused sub for the Scottish Cup trip to League One side Falkirk.
Several months ago, Ikpeazu would’ve been nailed on to start the game at Parkhead on Wednesday night. Now, he’s behind the likes of Liam Boyce, Steven Naismith, and Conor Washington in the pecking order.
It looks as though Celtic certainly dodged a bullet in not going for the big Englishman. But truth be told, it’s not as if he’s been a goalscorer wherever he’s played.
He’s bagged 19 goals in 69 appearances in League Two. His record is even worse in League One with only 11 strikes in 72 matches (Transfermarkt). It’s no wonder that clubs weren’t queuing up to sign the big man in January.
He still has the physical attributes to be a real pest, but Ikpeazu’s stock is dropping. If he comes on he’ll likely throw his weight around and win a few aerial duels. However, don’t expect him to get on the ball and make things happen.
His reported link with Celtic feels a long, long time ago now.