According to Turkish outlet Milliyet (via Daily Record), Celtic had a bid rejected for free-scoring Hatayspor hitman Aaron Boupendza. He fired in 22 goals this season in 36 league appearances [stats via Transfermarket] and, therefore, is being targeted by an array of suitors including Super Lig giants Fenerbahce and Galatasaray.
Hatayspor earned promotion last season after winning TFF 1. Lig and the 24-year-old Gabon international has now guided them to a stunning ‘top six’ finish in their first-ever top-flight campaign. Boupendza, alongside Mame Biram Diouf, has taken the league by storm and the former Bordeaux winger has clinched the ‘golden boot’ having scored thrice more than Besiktas’ Cyle Larin and Diouf.
After progressing through the youth ranks of CF Mounana, the Gabonese sensation was roped in by Bordeaux back in the summer of 2016. There he featured for the reserves before being loaned out to Pau FC in the lower tier of the French pyramid. Despite impressing with goals and assists, Boupendza failed to make it through to the senior side of Les Girondins and eventually joined the newly-promoted Turkish side last summer for a minuscule fee.
Do Celtic Stand A Chance?
Celtic, meanwhile, are not alone in the hunt as the clubs from Italy and Russia attempted to rope in the attacker during the winter window.
“There is an offer to Bopendza. It saw 5 million 150 thousand Euros and 5 million 250 thousand Euros. Offers came from Russia and Italy. We did not sell it. Boupendza is a very technically strong and fast player. An extra player. This player costs us. It came at a very affordable price, but we do not intend to sell this player without finding its value.”
Revealed club president Lütfü Savaş (as quoted by A Haber) following his side’s outrageous 5-1 triumph over champions Istanbul Başakşehir on the road.
Celtic have already seen a bid of around €6.5m (as claimed by Milliyet) rejected for Aaron Boupendza. They are in desperate need of attacking reinforcements amid uncertainty over Odsonne Edouard’s future, whereas the likes of Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti have failed to impress enough while spearheading the attack.
Predominantly a left-winger, the exquisite goal-scoring trait makes him a perfect fit for the ‘number 9’ role. His ability to feature across the frontline would enrich the Hoops high up the pitch but, at the same time, the player’s intention to stay in Turkey might prove to be a stumbling block unless they outspend the other outfits.