What transfer deadline day deals mean for Celtic striker Albian Ajeti

By Euan Davidson

September 3, 2021

You have to wonder what Celtic striker Albian Ajeti has made of events this week.

A former Swiss international, who’ll surely be wanting more action for his country, the striker has made it through somewhat of a striker cull this window.

Leigh Griffiths has departed to Dundee. Sure, it’s on loan, but for a season. With his contract expiring next summer, his future at Celtic seems insecure at the absolute best.

Meanwhile, Odsonne Edouard, who Ajeti had planned to partner up front [BBC], has moved to Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, former VVV-Venlo sensation Giorgos Giakoumakis has arrived, and fans will be eager to see what he can do.

So, what does this mean for Ajeti at Celtic? There are a couple of tactical options that could fit him in the first-team. For example, we’ve seen Kyogo Furuhashi play out on the left, with Edouard in the middle. Admittedly, it didn’t work against Rangers, but we’ve seen ample evidence that Kyogo can do plenty of damage playing off a more physical striker.

But really, it seems like Giakoumakis is that physical striker. And he’s coming off the better season. With 26 goals for a relegated VVV-Venlo side [Transfermarkt], he’s the fashionable choice right now. Provided, that is, Ange Postecoglou strays from his plan of keeping Kyogo central.

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Where does Ajeti fit at Celtic?

Unfortunately for Ajeti, his time at Celtic has been a series of false starts. He came into the 20-21 season meaning business, but fitness and loss of form put paid to a prolific spell. Once Odsonne Edouard was fit, it was obvious Ajeti wasn’t going to be the first-choice, anyway.

Then, when John Kennedy became caretaker, Ajeti was barely seen at all. The ongoing presence of Kennedy in Postecoglou’s staff may well be a problem for the ex-West Ham United man.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Then, in pre-season, Celtic supporters were excited by a leaner, meaner iteration of the striker. Again, though, it was only a brief flicker of form.

He could still be really good. There’s a reason Celtic signed him, after all. Still only 24, he twice hit double-figures for FC Basel before his West Ham move [Transfermarkt]. Yet none of Neil Lennon, Kennedy or Postecoglou seem to have figured out how to use him properly.

Barring injuries, it’s hard to see him making it into the Celtic team. There were even reports suggesting the Hoops were trying to gauge interest in him.

So, what next? It looks like it’ll be another period of knuckling down, training hard and hoping to catch the manager’s eye, cliché as it sounds. Despite spending £4.5m on him only last summer, Ajeti seems like a misshapen part in the squad.

It’s going to be a hugely important six months for him, leading up to January. If Celtic lose any of the free-flowing, rip-roaring form of the early season, and goals dry up, you can bet Dom McKay and Postecoglou will be consulting their notebooks.

Can Ajeti rise to the challenge? Is he up for proving himself all over again? The next few months will tell us a great deal.

In other news: Ireland manager raves about sudden call-up