Recently reports had emerged that Neil Lennon wanted to bring former Celtic striker Gary Hooper back to Parkhead in the summer. The English striker had managed 82 goals for the Hoops in his first spell, and Lennon is said to be keen on signing him again in the summer now that he is set to become a free agent.
However, Celtic are now going to face competition from Aston Villa and Fulham for the signature of the striker according to the reports from the Scottish Sun.
Fulham have already been relegated to the Championship as they sit second from the bottom in the Premier League. On the other hand, Aston Villa are in good form, and they could be back in the Premier League by next season if they win the Championship playoffs. Therefore Aston Villa can become an attractive destination for Hooper if they move to the Premier League.
The 31-year-old’s contract with Sheffield Wednesday is going to come to an end soon, and it is unlikely that he would be handed a new deal as he made just five appearances in the Championship this season. It is being said that Neil Lennon is particularly keen on landing Hooper and if he gets the top job permanently, he will go all out to sign the 31-year-old striker again.
Does Celtic need a striker?
Odsonne Edouard did a decent job after he was signed for record money last summer. However, the former PSG man has been injury prone, and he went on to miss quite a few games this season. Leigh Griffiths too decided to take some time off football in December. Celtic went on to sign Oliver Burke in January, and the Scotsman did a decent job in filling the role of a striker. However, his loan spell is set to expire soon. Therefore Celtic might need a new striker for the upcoming season.
Hooper might not have a bag of tricks, but he used to get the job done. 82 goals in 137 appearances are impressive numbers, and the former Norwich striker always had the knack of scoring in big games.
Can Celtic get their man?
He might take some time to get back to his best as he hasn’t played much football in the past year. On a free transfer, he seems like a decent signing to us. However, with Villa and Fulham joining the race, Celtic might find it slightly hard to lure him. But the fact that Hooper enjoyed so much success at Parkhead and was a fan favourite during his time might push him to move to Glasgow again.