CELTIC are courting a new striker as the season’s start approaches. The Scottish Champions are looking at Ivan Toney and Albian Ajeti to bolster the club’s front line and many are speculating that this could mean that Odsonne Edouard’s Celtic exit is approaching.
The Frenchman is Celtic’s talisman, the focal point of attacking and the man for the big occasion. He was in sparkling form and should Celtic want to win the holy grail of Scottish football, he needs to be there.
The French striker was in incredible form last season, scoring 28 goals and notching 12 assists in 45 appearances in all competitions as Celtic steamed towards matching Jock Stein’s 1974 record.
However, Neil Lennon’s decision to look for a new striker doesn’t mean that Edouard’s time in Glasgow is running out. Instead, it is a statement of intent from Lennon that he wants to play 3-5-2 and needs two reliable striking options to call upon. It does mean that one striker will likely be moved out on loan and the likeliest candidate is Bayo.
Does Griffiths have a future at Celtic?
Much of preseason has been dominated by talk of Leigh Griffiths. The 29-year-old is a terrific footballer but he has been unreliable due to injuries in recent years. Couple that with the fact he returned to pre-season training out of shape and then you have the manager looking to see if there’s another option at the club. Griffiths’ sparking form post January was one of the catalysts for the club’s 13 point lead when the season was curtailed. Griffiths knows that the manager has a lot of time for him but the outburst from Lennon following Griffiths’ omission from the pre-season tour to France will have given him a great deal of food for thought.
In all fairness to manager and player, Griffiths returned versus Hibs and Lennon praised the player he signed in 2014 for getting himself fit.
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The fact that next season will allow 5 substitutes means that more people will get game time and this means that two strikers on the bench will be the done thing. Patryk Klimala showed versus Hibs that he comes alive against tired defenders but also that he feeds well working in a front two instead of a lone one. His hold up play was raw but looked promising – not enough so to justify a start straight away. This means that it would be Edouard and Griffiths again.
Where now for Bayo?
Bayo has yet to make any real impact at Celtic since joining in January 2019. For one reason or another, Bayo has been unable to make a breakthrough since joining the club. Injuries have hampered his progress with the 23-year-old currently on the sidelines with a knock. A run of games in the form of a loan to a team that enjoy a lot of possession could be the perfect answer.
A dubious red card in the Europa League curtailed the progress that he had made to get into Neil Lennon’s reckoning before an injury ruled him out until after the winter break. Bayo was signed in January 2019, meaning he has been at Celtic for nearly 18 months already, yet has managed just 16 appearances. In that time he has scored twice (4 time if we include those that were given as own goals but are disputable) in his 364 minutes of action.
Celtic’s striker hunt doesn’t necessarily mean the end for Odsonne Edouard at Celtic Park but it may mean that Bayo or another striker may exit this coming week.