Former Celtic defender Jackie McNamara thinks that Hoops striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo needs a loan spell away from Parkhead due to a lack of game-time with the club.
The 23-year-old has only made 13 appearances for Celtic since joining from Dunajska Streda a year ago and The Scottish Sun reported this week that he has requested to be loaned out by the Scottish champions. McNamara feels that Bayo could benefit from getting more regular action elsewhere after struggling to win over Hoops manager Neil Lennon, name-checking Marian Shved and Leigh Griffiths as two other players in a similar predicament.
When asked by Football Insider if the Ivorian striker should be loaned out by Celtic, McNamara replied: “Yeah, he needs to play. He’s young, he needs to play, Bayo just turned 23, he needs games, he’s raw, he needs games to show that he’s different from what they’ve got.
“You only see him when he’s playing and how is he meant to get the fitness or the sharpness he needs? Or learn how to deal with the pressure and experience. There’s pressure on the manager to win and he hasn’t shown faith in Bayo or Griffiths or even Shved, but it’s very difficult for him as they need to win every game but they need the opportunity to play.”
McNamara is justified in advocating a loan move away from Celtic for Bayo given the lack of game-time he has had at Parkhead and the increased centre-forward competition at the club with the signing of Patryk Klimala this week.
The Ivorian striker has started only two games for the Hoops this season and has as many red cards as goals to his name for Celtic, having been sent off against Rennes in the Europa League a week before scoring against Partick Thistle in the Betfred Cup (as per TransferMarkt). His only action since the end of October was as a substitute in an inconsequential European defeat to CFR Cluj, while he has been included in a matchday squad just three times since Halloween (as per TransferMarkt).
Lennon has tended to start with just one centre-forward at Parkhead and Odsonne Edouard is the emphatic front-runner for the role, having scored 16 goals and played 2,512 minutes this season, almost three times the combined game-time of Bayo and Griffiths. With Klimala joining in a £3.5m deal (as per The Scottish Sun) this week, the Ivorian’s chances of regular action at Celtic now seem even fainter.
Also, as McNamara mentioned, Lennon does not have the luxury of experimentation at Parkhead, with Celtic’s lead at the top of the Premiership cut to two points after they lost to Rangers in their last match and their Glasgow rivals having a game in hand. That would likely make it even harder for the manager to trust in Bayo, so McNamara is right to make a case for the 23-year-old taking a loan spell away from the Hoops to get more regular game-time and hopefully build up his fitness and confidence.
Celtic fans, do you agree with McNamara’s recommendation of a loan move for Bayo? Share your views in the comments section below!
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