A shocking defeat to Rangers in the famous Old Firm derby has not only heated up the title battle after years of Celtic’s supremacy but also highlighted the Champions’ shortcomings even if they are still favourites to reconquer the Premiership glory. Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys are in desperate need of a ‘number 9’ to take the scoring burden off Odsonne Edouard and have now submitted a £1.75m bid for Ivorian Vakoun Issouf Bayo, according to the Scottish Daily Star .
The Hoops let Moussa Dembele depart for Olympique Lyonnais on the summer deadline day but failed to bring in a replacement during the culminating hours. Rodgers hoped to utilise Leigh Griffiths’ experience alongside record-signing Edouard, but the Scotsman, currently undergoing certain off-field crisis, has been allowed to take a timeout from football.
This has put the pressure entirely on the former Paris St-Germain academy prospect. However, the addition of a new striking option should now ease it off to a certain extent. The little-known forward has been in blistering scoring form having notched 14 goals in 25 outings for Slovakian side DAC whom he joined back in March from Tunisian outfit Etoile de Sahel.
The 21-year-old has represented his nation in youth ranks but is yet to become a full Ivory Coast international despite guiding the Dunajska Streda-based side into the title hunt. Bayo has a strong physique and is also capable of featuring down the left flank, and that would offer flexibility high up the pitch for Celtic. Although the centre-forward is not a familiar name to football fanatics across the globe, the Hoops have shown their excellent scouting ability over the years by recruiting little-known talents and eventually making them famous in the European circuit.
It is difficult to wrap up high-profile deals during the winter window and the fans must keep faith in the club’s recruitment panel if a deal is struck for the Ivory Coast striker. Bayo has made a couple of brief substitute appearances during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but is yet to flourish fully at a top level. He might need time before settling in the new surroundings but should fancy his chances of proving his worth in one of Europe’s most famous football leagues.
Bayo should initially begin as Edouard’s understudy but must utilise the minutes which would be increased gradually by the former Liverpool and Swansea City chief depending upon his progress.
Being recruited on permanent terms suggests the club views him as a long-term resolution of their striker conundrum and it would be interesting to follow how the youngster reacts to the challenges if a deal is eventually struck within next few days time.