According to a recent report by Football Insider, ex-striker Noel Whelan has tipped Premiership outfit Celtic to face competition from Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur for the signature of Wigan Athletic’s prodigious centre-forward Joe Gelhardt.
The former Leeds United man has tipped the teenager to depart the DW Stadium this summer after the unexpected stoppage due to the Coronavirus pandemic careened this once great club towards the harsh realities of administration. Whelan further claimed that player sales would give the Latics the financial respite that they’ve undoubtedly been searching for.
Although he has clarified that Celtic are interested in Wigan’s Joe Gelhardt, the fact that Jose Mourinho’s side are also keen could come as a stumbling block to the Celts’ ambitions for the summer. Speaking on this regard, Whelan said, “Gelhardt and Weir, because of the administration, are in a very good position to get a move away from Wigan at the end of the season. They are going to have to compete with Tottenham and some other clubs as well. These two young players are wanted by some of the top clubs in Britain.”
What Makes Joe Gelhardt An Attractive Option For Celtic?
The 18-year-old striker has been a member of the Wigan Athletic youth system for a while now, having initially made a name for himself with the U18 side as well. The youngster’s record for the youth team read five goals from five fixtures, and that’s arguably what tempted the first-team staff to present him with a well-deserved opportunity. With that said though, it’s worth considering that the forward is yet to go away a loan spell from the DW Stadium. There’s no substitute for regular first-team football, and that’s something that Gelhardt is yet to experience in his professional career so far.
The Englishman was given his Championship debut by the Latics last season, but only made a regular place for himself in the first-team squad this time around. Although many expected the youngster to spend the campaign simply warming the bench, even his substitute appearances displayed a certain degree of class and panache. Paul Cook was quick to take notice of the youngster’s quality and made him a regular substitute for the Latics. This season, the attacker went on to play in a total of 16 Championship appearances, a period during which he bagged his first league goal for the club as well.
The striker has represented the English youth system on multiple levels too, having most recently made his U18 debut towards the end of 2019. A willing runner off the ball, the one attribute that makes Gelhardt stand out from the rest is his ability to dribble players with ease. The youngster isn’t the tallest or most physical strikers in the world, but he more than makes up for it with a tireless work-rate and excellent technical ability. Capable of pulling off the odd trick, the forward also tends to time his runs into space quite well. Despite not being the biggest, the Wigan man regularly scores headed goals, owing largely to his positioning skills when inside the opposition box.
Celtic Are Interested In Wigan’s Joe Gelhardt: Why Lennon Must Beat Spurs To His Signature
Still only 18-years-old, one thing that can be said with utmost certainty is that the youngster is going to have a good career. The striker has proven during the last couple of seasons with the first-team that he has got what it takes to develop into a top striker. Despite not being the tallest, the youngster tends to more than make up for his physical shortcomings with added quality on the pitch. A mazy dribbler, the Wigan striker’s skill-set could indeed be well-suited to the fast-paced nature of English or Scottish football. The Englishman is undoubtedly headed for big things, and if Lennon can beat Jose Mourinho to the forward’s signature, then it would have to be considered quite the coup.
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