The contenders to be Eddie Howe's first Celtic signing

By John McGinley

May 24, 2021

Eddie Howe is on the brink of being appointed as Celtic manager.

Yes, I know we’ve been hearing this for weeks, but that’s the latest report from The Daily Record on the situation.

They reckon he will be unveiled this week and usher in the new Celtic era.

He has a lot of work to do. With less than two months until our first Champions League qualifier and a messy squad to sort out, recruitment is key.

But who could be his first signing based on what we’ve heard on the rumour mill so far?

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

Steve Cook

The Scottish Sun reported at the start of April that Cook was being lined up by Howe as one of his major summer signings.

The 30-year-old isn’t quite out of contract at the end of this season, as we explained later, but is apparently still a target for the incoming Hoops boss.

Cook is captain at Bournemouth and has been a massive presence in Howe’s teams over the last decade. He could be the kind of personality needed to unify this Celtic dressing room behind the methods and standards of the new manager.

At 30, he doesn’t quite fit the usual Celtic signing profile but with close to 170 Premier League appearances and 130 Championship appearances under his belt, he has experience that Howe undoubtedly values.

With centre-halves badly needed, betting against moving for Cook would be silly.

Steve Cook and Eddie Howe – Celtic bound? / (Photo by Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)

Josh King

Another former Howe player, King is currently facing an uncertain future at Everton following a difficult season at Goodison Park.

The 29-year-old Norwegian international can be quite the goal threat when on top form. Under Eddie, he netted 53 goals and assisted 19 more when they were in the Premier League. [Transfermarkt]

King was linked to a Celtic move last month and as we discussed over the weekend, the Toffees are set to hold meetings this week to decide on his future.

If things fall our way, he could be the kind of player we look to as a replacement for Odsonne Edouard, who is expected to leave the Bhoys this summer.

The versatile 54-cap Norwegian international could be reborn at Howe’s Celtic much in the same way Scott Sinclair was under Brendan Rodgers.

Will Josh King be Eddie Howe’s first Celtic signing? / (Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

Mohamed Elyounoussi

Speaking of Norwegian caps, what about one we know very well?

Elyounoussi is due to return to Southampton following his second loan spell at the club, but there are still some who reckon he could be a class permanent signing for the Bhoys.

I’m one of them.

Elyounoussi hasn’t been a blow-away success at Celtic and consistency has been a big problem but I reckon he could thrive under the right manager. Maybe Neil Lennon just wasn’t his cup of tea.

It’s easy to forget he scored 14 goals this season, part of a 24-goal total for the club across two seasons. With 14 assists complementing that haul, it’s clear he can be effective in the Scottish top-flight.

If he’s available for the right price this summer Celtic should be looking to do business.

In other news, the ruthless decision Howe must make to truly symbolise change at Celtic.