Three strikers Celtic must target to solve their goalscoring woes in January
The 2018/19 season hasn’t been off to the best of starts for Scottish champions Celtic. Brendan Rodgers’ men failed to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and instead find themselves in the Europa League, while the defence of their Scottish Premiership title has been off to a rocky start as well.
After seven matches, the Hoops find themselves in the fifth spot in the standings, six points below league leaders Hearts. One of the main reasons for their insipid start to the season has been the lack of goals. Having sold star striker Moussa Dembele to Olympique Lyon on the transfer deadline day, Celtic failed to replace the Frenchman and have been heavily reliant on Odsonne Edouard and the injury-prone Leigh Griffiths.
Celtic have managed to score just seven goals in the Premiership this season. Only St. Mirren (3), Dundee (4), Aberdeen (5) and Hamilton Academical (6) have scored fewer goals than the reigning champions, out of which the former two occupy the bottom spots in the table. Meanwhile, Aberdeen are in seventh place and the Accies in ninth.
Clearly, this issue needs addressing in the January transfer window and here are three strikers who could be the perfect solution to the Bhoys’ goalscoring woes.
Divock Origi (Liverpool)
The Belgian striker was signed for £10m by Rodgers during his time at Liverpool. Given that he finds himself way down in the pecking order at Anfield, Celtic must consider an attempt to sign him in January.
Since joining Liverpool, Origi has scored 21 times in 77 games for the club. He spent the last season out on loan with German Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg for whom he scored seven times and set up three more goals in 36 appearances. In the ongoing term, Origi hasn’t made a single first-team appearance but he did score and assist a goal apiece in his only appearances for the U23s.
He may not have churned out great numbers in the past couple of seasons but a lot of that has got to do with being in and out of teams and not getting a regular run in the starting XI. Should Rodgers offer him that at Parkhead, the 23-year-old has the right tools to succeed and grow into the goalscorer Celtic are so craving for at the moment.
Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan)
A striker who has previously been on Celtic’s radar (h/t The Scotsman), 23-year-old Iranian Sardar Azmoun is another option Celtic should take a look at in January.
Azmoun joined Rubin Kazan from Sepahan in his homeland and was loaned to Rostov, before joining them permanently in 2016. A year later, the centre-forward returned to Kazan on a free transfer but he failed to impress, managing just five goals and six assists in 28 appearances last season. However, he has netted twice and set up three more in eight league games in the ongoing term.
The striker’s international record of 23 goals from 36 appearances for Iran highlights his goalscoring pedigree. And the fact that he scored against European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid during the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League campaign showcases his ability to deliver on the big stage. An all-around striker with pace and technical nous, Azmoun has what it takes to be a constant source of goals for Celtic.
Munas Dabbur (RB Salzburg)
The Israeli international has been making a lot of waves with his goalscoring exploits for Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg and is someone Celtic should take a look at in January.
The 26-year-old enjoyed a remarkable 2017/18 season as he scored 29 goals in all competitions, winning the Golden Boot as RB Salzburg clinched the Austrian Bundesliga. He also played a vital role as the club reached the semi-finals of the Europa League. So far in the ongoing season, Dabbur has already bagged 13 goals in 15 matches across all competitions, continuing in the same vein of form as the last term.
Celtic will get a closer look at the striker when they take on the Austrian outfit in the Europa League in the upcoming week. Considering that he has already opened his account in Europe, he will surely be someone to watch out for.