Giorgos Giakoumakis – Urawa Red Diamonds and Atlanta United await Celtic Striker’s Decision

The transfer update on Celtic striker Giorgos Giakoumakis from reliable Greek reporter Giannis Chorianopoulos last week indicated that it was coming down to a straight choice for the player whether to join Urawa Red Diamonds in the J-League of perhaps Atlanta United in the MLS.

“Giakoumakis is under negotiations with Urawa Red Diamonds and Atlanta United for a possible transfer and to agree personal terms. It is believed that both clubs can agree with Celtic,” Chorianopoulos reported.

Ange Postecoglou left Giakoumakis out of the midweek Scottish Premiership 4-0 win over St Mirren and also yesterday’s 4th Round Scottish Cup (5-0) win over Greenock Morton saying that while he had a slight knock, the player had plenty on his mind.

As we reported earlier, Ange said: “He had that little niggle. He trained on Friday but it’s fair to say there is a fair bit going on with him in the background as well and my view is that it’s not just about the physical but the mental too.

“I had a good chat with him and until he gets some clarity about what’s happening with him, I think as well as the physical stuff I thought it was better to leave him out.”

Giorgos Giakoumakis of Celtic celebrates with teammate Alexandro Bernabei after scoring the team’s second goal during the Viaplay Cup Semi-final match between Celtic and Kilmarnock at Hampden Park on January 14, 2023. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

That stuff going on in the background is whether Giakoumakis decides to sign for Urawa Red Diamonds or instead make a late change of mind to instead go to play his football in The States. And with the Celtic manager’s words we can assume that both clubs – as Chorianopoulos reported – have reached an agreement with Celtic.

Whichever club Giorgos decides to sign for will not, we discovered this morning, have any impact on his position in his national side as the Greece manager has confirmed, with Gus Poyet also giving the clearest indication as to why Giakoumakis is so determined to leave Celtic.

As reported by Daily Record, Poyet said: “Giorgos is a strong character, he likes to play football, he gives you 100 per cent all the time. That’s why he’s so popular with Celtic. He’s got better in front of goal and scored a few goals.

“But this season he wasn’t playing regularly. He felt he wanted to play. At first I heard it was this team in Japan he was going to sign for and now I hear it’s the team in MLS. I always tell any player when they ask for my opinion that they have to make good decisions. The more good decisions you make in your career, the better your career gets.

“But wherever he is in the world, he will be in the national team if he doesn’t have injury problems. I like him a lot and he is an important member of the Greek national team and I hope he makes the right decision for himself and for the national team.”

With that assurance from Poyet, Giakoumakis need not worry about his next club choice impacting on his selection for his international side.  The player was offered a contract extension and improved terms by Celtic but with Kyogo establishing himself as the first pick striker this season the frustration we have seen from Giakoumakis when he has come off the bench and failed to convert chances is ultimately the pointer to the reason why he is looking to play his football elsewhere, with perhaps Atlanta United in the MLS set to win the race for his signature.

Like Josip Juranovic, Girogos Giakoumakis will be missed and leaves Celtic as a very popular player with the support. We’ll all wish both the very best of luck.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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