Why Celtic would be wise to drop their interest in Giannis Bouzoukis

According to claims from Greek outlet SDNA, as cited by The Scottish Sun, Celtic have been credited with an interest in Giannis Bouzoukis, who currently plies his trade with Panathinaikos in the Greek top-flight. 

As per the report, Celtic recruitment chief Nick Hammond has sent scouts to keep an eye on the 21-year-old, who has made 14 appearances for Panathinaikos so far in the ongoing campaign. 

The highly-rated Greek U21 international had emerged as a target for several clubs across the continent last year, including Ajax, Benfica, Villarreal and Getafe, and Celtic have now set their sights on the left-footed attacking midfielder ahead of the mid-season trading window in January. (SDNA h/t Scottish Sun)

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Celtic have been linked with a January move for Giannis Bouzoukis (Getty Images)

Bouzoukis, who is under contract at Panathinaikos until 2022, made the transition from the youth ranks to the first-team during the 2017-18 campaign and went on to register 24 league appearances last term, scoring four times in the process. 

The 21-year-old has established himself as a regular fixture in the playing eleven at his boyhood club this season, starting 12 games for Panathinaikos in the league so far, although he is yet to open his scoring account for the campaign. 

Meanwhile, Celtic have been sailing through smoothly on all fronts this season heading into the busy Christmas period and New Year. Having already made it through to the last 32 of the UEFA Europa Leauge and bagged their first piece of silverware with a victory over Rangers in the Betfred Cup final, the Hoops are currently a couple of points clear of the Gers atop the domestic standings.  

To that end, Neil Lennon’s side have already laid the platform for yet another trophy-laden campaign this time around and its hard to anticipate wholesale changes to the squad at Parkhead during the mid-season transfer window. 

With that in mind, however, a reliable back-up to star striker Odsonne Edouard continues to be somewhat of a priority while a new centre-back or a right-back also fits the bill, with the Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jozo Simunovic out injured and Moritz Bauer only on loan from Stoke City.

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Bouzoukis has already made his mark for Greece at the U-21 level (Getty Images)

To put things into perspective, Celtic’s links with Giannis Bouzoukis don’t really make a lot of sense, given that attacking midfield is not an area where the Hoops are currently crying out for reinforcements, with Ryan Christie already an influential presence in that No.10 role behind the striker. 

Christie, who has been a key cog in Lennon’s playing eleven, has already bagged 16 goals and 11 assists in 29 appearances for Celtic in all competitions so far this term, with the 24-year-old also excelling in the group stages of the Europa League. 

Olivier Ntcham has done a great job in that attacking midfield role whenever the Frenchman has been called into action by Lennon while Tom Rogic has found regular minutes difficult to come by due to stiff competition for places. 

Verdict

As things stand, Celtic already have three top-quality attacking options in that No.10 role and it is hard to see how an unknown talent like Giannis Bouzoukis could fit into the manager’s plans. 

Marian Shved, who arrived at Parkhead from Ukraine last January, has hardly enjoyed any substantial involvement and Bouzoukis could also find it extremely difficult to break into the playing XI at Parkhead. 

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Credits: Getty Images

Notwithstanding the fact that the 21-year-old is an obvious talent with loads of potential, his failure to score even once in 14 games this season clearly reveals that there is not much end product in his game at the moment. 

Hence, it is difficult to see how he could possibly be an upgrade on the club’s existing options or even a squad player in Celtic’s ranks which is already littered with a plethora of attacking talents.

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Having said that, the Hoops should be wise enough to drop their interest in Giannis Bouzoukis and focus on other areas if they are genuinely interested in improving their squad.

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