Why Celtic can strike gold with a loan deal for Glen Murray in January
According to Daily Mail (h/t The Scottish Sun), Celtic have identified out-of-favour Brighton and Hove Albion hitman Glen Murray as a potential loan target during the January transfer window, with Neil Lennon desperate to bolster his attacking unit ahead of a crucial second half of the campaign.
EFL Championship promotion-hopefuls Nottingham Forest have also been credited with an interest in the 36-year-old veteran, who has made only 14 appearances for the Seagulls in all competitions so far this season. (Daily Mail h/t Scottish Sun)
Murray, who fired Brighton to a promotion-winning campaign in the Championship with 23 goals during the 2016-17 season, bagged 25 goals in the Premier League under the stewardship of Chris Hughton over the course of two campaigns but he has suffered a significant fall in grace since Graham Potter took over.
With Neal Maupay and teenager Aaron Connolly both ahead of Murray in the pecking order the Amex Stadium, Potter has admitted that the club could possibly sanction a loan departure for the former Crystal Palace and Bournemouth man, who is out of contract at Brighton in 2020. (h/t Scottish Sun)
Murray, though, isn’t the only striker to have been linked with a move to Parkhead. Celtic are also in the frame to sign Billy Sharp from Sheffield United while talks with Slovan Bratislava over a potential deal for Andraz Sporar are understood to be ongoing. (h/t Scottish Sun)
Meanwhile, Celtic are still two points ahead of Rangers atop the standings after a 2-1 defeat in the Old Firm derby dealt a blow to their pursuit of nine-in-a-row in the Scottish Premiership, although Steven Gerrard’s side have a game in hand to make up the deficit and leapfrog their arch-rivals.
The Hoops have already bagged their first piece of silverware this term with a victory over Rangers in the Betfred Cup final but there is still plenty up for grabs during the crucial second half of the campaign, with the Scottish Cup and the knockout rounds of the UEFA Europa League set to get underway.
However, continuing their domestic dominance must remain a top priority for Celtic and Neil Lennon would be wise to beef up his artillery during the January transfer window.
While a new centre-back to fill in for the injury absence of Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jozo Simunovic certainly fits the bill, the reigning champions also need to bring in a reliable back-up to star striker Odsonne Edouard, who has been Lennon’s go-to man for goals more often than not.
Despite the likes of Ryan Christie and James Forrest firing on all cylinders, the lacklustre form of Leigh Griffiths and the fitness issues of Vakoun Issou Bayo continue to be a major cause of concern for the manager, who desperately needs to find a suitable alternative to reduce the burden on Edouard in front of the goal.
To put things into perspective, proven goalscorers in English football hardly come any better than Glen Murray, a veteran of over 500 competitive appearances and 200 goals for clubs across the top four divisions south of the border.
With fixtures set to come thick and fast in the coming months, the Hoops need to bring in an immediate game-changer and Murray perfectly fits the bill, despite his advancing years and lack of playtime at Brighton this season.
As per whoscored, each of Murray’s 25 goals in the Premier League over the past two seasons has come from inside the box, numbers which lie testament to his reputation as a bonafide poacher and a penalty-box specialist.
Hence, it is a no-brainer that Murray’s arrival would add that much-needed clinical edge to Celtic’s attack while also providing Lennon with some quality back-up for Edouard.
Jermaine Defoe has worked wonders for Rangers since joining on loan from Bournemouth last January and Murray still has plenty of gas left in his tank to score goals for fun north of the border.
Looking at things from the player’s perspective, a move to Celtic could open the door for Murray to finish his career with a last piece of silverware while the prospect of European football for the first time in his career should, in itself, be a tempting proposition for the 36-year-old.
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All in all, Celtic completing a loan deal for Glen Murray before the January transfer deadline could set them up nicely for another trophy-laden campaign on the domestic front.