The name Steven Fletcher will always be remembered by Celtic fans for that failed transfer back in 2009.
The year Celtic were seven points clear of Rangers after a fine win at Ibrox heading into January, it seemed a no-brainer to sign up the strong, youthful, and clinical Hibs striker who had already proved his worth against the Hoops in the past.
In the end, Celtic failed to sign him as Fletcher made a career for himself down south. 11 years and five clubs later, however, Fletcher and Celtic again find themself being linked with each other.
We already know that Lennon rates him after stating his admiration of him this week (The Herald). But what halted Fletcher from making that same move 11 years ago? Last year, Fletcher opened up on his failed Celtic dream when speaking to Open Goal, and here’s what he had to say on why the move never transpired:
“I was linked with Celtic in January and they put an offer in for me and it got rejected. And I went and seen the chairman and said ‘what’s the script?’
“He openly said to me ‘I’ll let you go in the summer, you’re not leaving just now’. Obviously I was still a bit, you know, just let me go. I tried to push it a little bit and he was like ‘listen, you’re not going’. His words to me were ‘I want you to go down to the Premier League’.
“I did want to go at the time because it was a good squad as well, I wanted to go (to Celtic). Strachan was the manager. He sprung it up to me when he was Scotland manager.”
Signs point to Fletcher being all for a Parkhead move
Fletcher won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. He certainly doesn’t have the pace he once did, and his goals have most definitely dried up the longer his career has gone on.
But he would give Celtic a different dimension to their game. Looking through our strikers, can you really say we have an out-and-out target man there to hit? Odsonne Edouard is the strongest and tallest of the lot, but he isn’t one to go crashing into defenders the way a Fletcher would. Eddy is more about his elegance than his brute strength.
Fletcher uses his height well, and if Lennon is going to go with a two-striker system this season, he could be a good option to have alongside a Leigh Griffiths or Patryk Klimala.
Of course, there’s one key difference between the situation back in ’09 and the present day – the competition. Back when Gordon Strachan wanted him, Fletcher would’ve been up against a struggling Georgios Samaras and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to partner Scott McDonald. He would’ve been guaranteed minutes given the lack of goals we were getting from some of our front-men at that time.
At the moment, however, we have Leigh Griffiths looking hungry again whilst Patryk Klimala has scored three goals in pre-season and looks like he’ll offer something. Fletcher, should he sign, would have to be a squad player and nothing more. Whether that appeals to him or not is a massive question that would need answering.
As of right now, everything seems up in the air regarding this potential deal. Many won’t want it to happen and many wouldn’t mind. But going by Fletcher’s comments in the past, it’s something he would perhaps jump at.