Celtic Opinion: Brandon Barker could prove to be a useful signing for the Hoops
According to The Scottish Sun, Celtic are weighing up a cut-price deal for Man City winger Brandon Barker in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that Hoops manager Neil Lennon is keen to reunite with his former Hibernian player at Parkhead.
The Scottish Sun understands that the 22-year-old has only one year left on his contract at Man City and the Citizens could be tempted to cash in on him this summer.
Barker spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Hibernian and earned rave reviews from Lennon, who is now intent on bringing the youngster to Parkhead to bolster his forces, with the Scottish Sun claiming that he is still a big admirer of the 22-year-old.
The Manchester-born winger spent this past season on loan at Preston North End in the Championship but he made just 20 appearances for Alex Neil’s side in all competitions, chipping in with 2 goals and 2 assists. Barker’s loan spell at the Deepdale Stadium was the fourth of his City career, having previously featured for Rotherham United, Hibernian, as well as NAC Breda in the Dutch second-tier.
Barker, 22, is nearing a stage in his career where he needs to enter his prime years very soon, although he is still very much in the developmental stage of his career. The youngster has already had loan stints at four different clubs and he needs to settle down somewhere sooner rather than later in order to realise his potential.
Given the level of competition in the first-team at Man City, it is highly unlikely that he would get a look in from Pep Guardiola, meaning that a permanent move away from the Etihad could help him kick start his career.
Keeping that in mind, the prospect of a move to Celtic this summer should appeal to the player, not only because he has previously worked with Neil Lennon, but the possibility of playing European football should also convince him to move north of the border.
To put things into perspective, it is not difficult to see why Celtic would strike gold with the signing of Brandon Barker. The 22-year-old’s familiarity with the manager and his imminent availability in a cut-price deal should prompt the Hoops to complete a swoop for the promising winger.
Celtic not only bagged their eighth straight domestic league title this past season but the Hoops also completed the domestic treble for the third time in a row.
As things stand, Celtic are way ahead of arch-rivals Rangers in all aspects of the game and their unparalleled dominance in Scottish football has reigned supreme for almost a decade but the Hoops also need to aim higher on the European front.
As we all know, there is little room for complacency in football and Celtic should continue to look for young and promising players in the market in order to keep moving in the right direction.
Barker certainly fits the bill and the Hoops have every reason to look at the 22-year-old as a like-for-like replacement for the likes of Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke. Both the loanees have returned to their parent clubs and the Hoops need to bring in reinforcements to ensure that they have the perfect balance in their attack heading into the upcoming season.
Essentially a right-footed attacker, Barker is at his best when deployed as an inverted winger down the left, which allows him to bring his pace, flair and trickery to cut inside. He has got a great eye for key passes and defence-splitting through balls in the final third, and at 22, there is still plenty of time left for him to make significant improvements to his game.
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In all probability, Scott Sinclair is going to continue as the first-choice down the left-hand side of the pitch for the Hoops next term, but bringing in someone like Barker would provide much-needed cover and increase competition for places. That said, Celtic should go all out in their pursuit of the Man City winger this summer.