The Scotsman had reported that Hoops manager Neil Lennon could try to sign a winger today after Mikey Johnston suffered suspected ligament damage in Wednesday night’s win at St Johnstone (as per BBC).
According to The Athletic [via sportslens.com], Bournemouth winger Ibe is not in Eddie Howe’s plans at the Vitality Stadium and could be signed for a cut-price fee as his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, with Crystal Palace also keen on the 24-year-old.
A look at Ibe’s goal involvement figures during his time at Bournemouth may well explain why the Premier League club consider him dispensable. He has scored just five times for the Cherries in 92 appearances and provided nine assists, with only one league goal and one assist since the start of 2018/19.
He has barely had a look-in at the Vitality Stadium this season, making just four appearances in 2019/20 and getting 227 minutes of game-time. He has not featured for Howe’s side since the Carabao Cup defeat to Burton Albion in late September and has only made the bench for one Premier League game since the start of October. [via TransferMarkt]
With Johnston joining Mohamed Elyounoussi on the treatment table and Scott Sinclair sold to Preston earlier this month, Lennon’s wide options have become threadbare of late. James Forrest has at least returned from a recent knock to score in midweek and take his tally for the season to 15 goals, along with 18 assists.
The only other options on the right wing at Celtic are Jonny Hayes, who has played mainly as a left-back this season, and Marian Shved, who has been given a paltry 35 minutes of game-time. However, the 22-year-old Ukrainian has still managed to score in that time and that one goal (against Nomme Kalju in a Champions League qualifier) is as many as Ibe managed in 841 minutes of Premier League football since August 2018 (as per TransferMarkt).
Celtic’s last-gasp attempt to try and bring Ibe to Parkhead has a look of desperation about it, given the culling of Lennon’s wide options and the Bournemouth winger’s frightfully barren goal record over the past number of months.
It is also a metaphorical slap in the face for Shved, who despite some injury problems has hardly had a chance under Lennon and whose continued omission has irked a lot of Celtic fans. The Ukrainian showed against Nomme Kalju that he is capable of making an impact when called upon and it seems baffling why the manager would rather bring in a winger with an atrocious scoring record than give one of his current players a fair chance at Parkhead.
Celtic fans, do you think the deadline day interest in Ibe smacks of desperation from the club? Would you rather see Shved being given more of a chance instead? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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