Why Celtic should go back in the market for Lawrence Shankland
However, the 25-year-old Scotland international later rubbished those rumours (Football Daft Podcast h/t Glasgow Evening Times) and ended up staying put at Tannadice Park after firing Dundee United to top-flight promotion.
Lawrence Shankland started his professional career with Queen’s Park in the Scottish fourth-tier before completing a move to the top-flight with Aberdeen in 2013. He was integrated into the Dons’ first-team set-up following a loan spell at Dunfermline Athletic in Scottish League One during the 2013-14 season.
However, the 25-year-old failed to find the net in 17 appearances across all competitions for Aberdeen in 2014-15 and never played for the club again. Shankland spent time on loan at St. Mirren and Greenock Morton in the Scottish Championship before completing a permanent move to third-tier club Ayr United in 2017.
Shankland propelled Ayr United to a promotion with 26 goals in 30 league appearances in 2017-18 and followed it up with yet another astonishing tally of 24 goals in 31 second-tier outings in the following campaign. The Glasgow-born hitman then joined Dundee United in the Championship and went on to plunder 28 goals in 33 appearances last term to guide the club to top-flight promotion.
The 25-year-old has hit the ground running in the Scottish Premiership this season after recovering from an early injury setback, scoring twice in 9 league appearances so far. Shankland made his senior international debut for Scotland last year while still in the second-tier.
Shankland would be a quality addition to Celtic’s attack
Celtic roped in Patryk Klimala back in January last season and followed it up with a deal for Albian Ajeti in the summer to bolster their striking ranks. While Ajeti has managed to alleviate the pressure on the shoulders of star man Odsonne Edouard with 5 league goals in 8 games so far this season, Klimala has struggled to get to grips with the Scottish game.
The Pole has struggled to establish himself as a key player under Neil Lennon and has largely been restricted to cameos off the bench. However, it is worth pointing out that he hasn’t grabbed his opportunities whenever the manager has put his trust in him.
The same goes for Leigh Griffiths, who has continued to struggle for form and fitness over the past 12 months. The 30-year-old was once among the most prolific strikers in Scotland but his influence has gradually waned over the years. Griffiths’ lacklustre display against AC Milan in the Europa League clearly showed that his best years are well behind him.
Celtic, to that end, shouldn’t hesitate to dive into the winter market for a new striker to compete with Ajeti and Edouard for a place up top. And making a renewed attempt to sign Lawrence Shankland could be a smart move. The Scottish international has backed up his reputation as a goal-machine in the second-tier with a positive return to the top-flight with Dundee United and his career seems to be progressing in the right direction.
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Shankland’s devastating nature in front of goal should make him an instant upgrade on the likes of Klimala and Griffiths at Parkhead. The 25-year-old might not have the same quality as someone like Edouard, but he’s more than capable of offering Lennon a quality alternative in that department.
Moreover, with Edouard continuing to attract interest from several Premier League clubs south of the border, Celtic need to keep their options open. Shankland’s links with Celtic haven’t come to fruition in the past but the Hoops should definitely try to get their hands on the Scottish international in January.