Former Premiership midfielder Alex Rae believes that Celtic have no need to sign striker Lawrence Shankland amid reports that the Hoops have been scouting the 24-year-old.
The Scottish Sun reported that Celtic scout Tosh McKinlay was in the stands to watch the Dundee United forward in action against Hibernian last weekend, with the Hoops’ head of recruitment Nick Hammond going to watch him earlier in the month against Partick Thistle (as per The Scottish Sun). This comes after the Daily Express recently reported that Celtic manager Neil Lennon has targeted Shankland as a possible signing.
However, with the Hoops recently adding Patryk Klimala to their centre-forward options alongside Odsonne Edouard, Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Rae thinks that the Dundee United striker could be surplus to requirements at Parkhead.
Speaking on the Ladbrokes Social Club [via The Scottish Sun], he reckons they don’t need to sign Shankland, saying: “I don’t think at this present time when you consider the options they’ve actually got. They’ve obviously got Edouard, you’ve got Griffiths, you’ve got [Klimala] and you’ve got Bayo.”
In one sense, Rae makes a good point in mentioning the spread of centre-forward choices already available to Lennon, who usually starts with only one out-and-out striker. Edouard is Celtic’s second highest scorer this season with 16 goals, Griffiths netted in Saturday’s Scottish Cup win over Partick Thistle to serve a timely reminder of his goal-scoring ability (108 goals for the club) and Klimala cost £3.5m from Jagiellonia Bialystok (as per The Scottish Sun), so the manager would likely want to give him opportunities to prove his worth at Parkhead.
As it stands, Bayo has barely had a look-in for Celtic, playing just 330 minutes all season, while youngster Jonathan Afolabi, who hasn’t yet been considered for the first team, could be allowed to leave on loan amid reported interest from English Football League clubs, according to Football Insider.
However, Shankland could be an astute addition if Celtic were to bring him in, judging by his exceptional scoring return in recent seasons. He is surpassing a goal a game this term, with 22 in 19 matches for Dundee United, having hit 24 goals in 33 games last season and 26 in 30 appearances in 2017/18. Even allowing for the caveat of those tallies being scored outside the Premiership, the 24-year-old has demonstrated that he is a consistently reliable marksman.
Also, while the Hoops may seem well-stocked in the centre-forward department now, Bayo has asked the club to let him go out on loan (as per The Scottish Sun). Were that to happen, an injury or suspension to any of the remaining strikers would suddenly leave Lennon very light in that position, and with Shankland boasting such an impressive goal return, it makes plenty of sense for Celtic to consider adding him.
Rae is justified in saying that Celtic have a decent spread of centre-forward options but nonetheless they shouldn’t disregard Shankland just because they currently have four senior strikers at the club – a number that could be reduced should Bayo be loaned out.
Celtic fans, do you agree with Rae’s belief that the Hoops don’t need Shankland? Comment below with your views!
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