Bayo and Shved struggling in Belgian top-flight after Celtic departures

By Euan Davidson

October 14, 2021

When both Vakoun Bayo and Marian Shved were approaching the end of their loan spells, the questions were obvious.

Having impressed as Toulouse and KV Mechelen respectively, were Celtic missing a trick? Were the physical striker and enigmatic wide man worth putting faith in? Had Neil Lennon been too rash to let either go?

Fair questions, all. At Toulouse, Vakoun Bayo became a key player. Les Violets were keen to hold on to the Ivorian striker, who hit the back of the net 13 times in all competitions [Transfermarkt].

Shved, too, looked revitalised. The Ukrainian, who never really got a chance at Celtic, contributed to 7 goals from the wing. In a decent season for KV Mechelen all-round, it was no surprise they were keen to bring him back permanently.

Both were sold, and it’s natural to wonder what will become of Celtic talents. Talents that justified expenditure from the club in the first place, only to feel alienated along the way.

The evidence – so far this season, at least – suggests both were good decisions. Thus far, Bayo has played just 115 minutes of football for KAA Gent, barely mustering a shot in limited appearances for the Belgian side [WhoScored?].

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Shved has fared better, but only slightly.

In 315 minutes of action, he’s breached the opposition goal once. He’s struggling to make headway with his dribble attempts, however, and his passing averages are dire. He has a completion rate of just over 60% [WhoScored?].

Celtic were right to cut their losses on Bayo and Shved

Again, there were arguments – decent ones – that a new manager at Celtic could review Bayo and Shved with fresh eyes. That they were worth the money to bring them here, so why not try them again?

Totally understandable. However, what was more understandable was simply cutting the cord. Fine, it maybe looked a little daft in retrospect, with Celtic struggling to cover positions early on in the season.

But it’s better to give a player an opportunity somewhere else than lead them on with hopes of a revival. That, and neither really passed the test for Celtic in their albeit brief glimpses of action.

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As a whole, Celtic’s outgoing business was pretty impressive. Players who were always going to want Premier League football got exactly that. The loss of Scott Brown was inevitable. Getting a fee for Olivier Ntcham would’ve put more of a shine on things, but that wasn’t going to happen.

All in, the squad needed trimming. And while it’s sad to see once-tipped prospects like Bayo and Shved leave quietly from Celtic, that’s just the nature of the game.

Evidence shows that, thus far, Celtic aren’t missing a great deal.

Read more: Bonnyrigg Rose boss wants Celtic B games postponed during international breaks