Vakoun Bayo deserves chance to be Celtic's new Plan B

By David Walton

June 14, 2021

As Vakoun Bayo gets set to return to Celtic from Toulouse this week, it’s essential he’s given a chance to be our new Plan B.

Bayo spent last campaign on loan in France at Ligue 2 level. Despite a slow start, the Ivorian rediscovered his form at the turn of the year. He would end the campaign with a decent 13 goals to his name, with 11 coming since January [Transfermarkt].

During his time in France, he would also be given a new nickname. Toulouse often referred to Bayo as “L’helico”. You guessed it, he was called “The Helicopter” last season due to his impressive aerial prowess.

This was an area Celtic struggled in badly last season. Despite having the imposing Odsonne Edouard up top, we seldom had the attributes to mix things up and go direct. The truth was that we didn’t have the personnel to do it.

Leigh Griffiths, Albian Ajeti, and Patryk Klimala were also no use in this regard. We didn’t have any physicality in the final third, and at times it was needed as Celtic often struggled to break down packed defences.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

Having that kind of aerial threat who can flick direct balls beyond the defence would be ideal for Celtic. A player who can allow midfielders to make advancing runs beyond the defence and get onto flick-ons.

Vakoun Bayo has done enough to suggest he can make an impact at Celtic; needs a chance

Too often last season, so much of our play was in front of opposition back-lines. It would usually end with link-up play being broken down in around the penalty area, or a wild shot blazing itself off target.

Even when Celtic tried to swap strikers around and use different personnel, we didn’t have the tools to change the game-plan. Didn’t have the ability to go long and make the most of it. It’s no wonder Premiership defences grew in confidence against us.

Bayo has the skillset to mix things up for Celtic if necessary. It’s a role he played extremely effectively with Toulouse. The vast majority of his goals were via headed efforts. However, he also showed a burst of pace and some slick finishes with his feet too.

Vakoun Bayo celebrates a Celtic goal / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s so easy to write Bayo off as another poor signing. He was signed in January 2018 and hasn’t made an impact for us since. But his time with Toulouse showed that he’s capable of doing a turn for us if given the chance.

We need some alternative game plans this season. Last term we failed to mix things up and it allowed us to become predictable in the eyes of the opposition.

Bayo gives us the option of changing our approach. And for the foreseeable future, it’s vital he gets the chance to show what he’s all about.

In other news, there is one player who appears to have no chance of a Celtic renaissance.