Celtic Have Joined The Race For This Ligue 1 Attacker: Should The Hoops Intensify Their Interest?

11 MBAYE NIANG REN - BUT - DOS FOOTBALL : Nice vs Rennes - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - 13/12/2020 FEP/Panoramic PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxITAxBEL

If a report from Football Italia is believed to be true, Celtic have registered interest in M’Baye Niang. However, the Hoops are not alone in the hunt as the likes of Venezia, Fenerbahce and Shanghai Shenhua have registered interest as well in the Senegal international, transfer guru Sebastien Denis has claimed.

Celtic are undergoing a phase of transition under Ange Postecoglou, the ex-Socceroos boss who had a decent introduction to Scottish football with a 1-1 first-leg draw against Midtjylland in the Champions League qualifier. The club have roped in a few new faces to accelerate the reconstruction but, at the same time, must opt for quality alternatives to replace their departing stars. Carl Starfelt is a welcome addition to emulate Kristoffer Ajer’s (who left for Brentford) Parkhead glory and the necessity of a ‘number 9’ can’t be disregarded amid uncertainties over Odsonne Edouard’s future.

Celtic target Mbaye Niang in action for Rennes
11 MBAYE NIANG REN – 29 JEFF REINE ADELAIDE NICE FOOTBALL : Nice vs Rennes – Ligue 1 Uber Eats – 13/12/2020 FEP/Panoramic PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxITAxBEL

The Frenchman is still expected to leave Celtic Park despite the failed Leicester move and the Hoops would require an outright striking option to spearhead the attack. Albian Ajeti looked sharp during the pre-season fixtures, but the Swiss centre-forward would struggle to deliver week in week out in the absence of Edouard. Leigh Griffiths is not the same player he used to be a few years back and the egress of Vakoun Issouf Bayo specifies the limitation in terms of depth as well as quality in the attacking third.

Why Celtic Must Step Up The Chase For Niang To Leapfrog Venezia 

Postecoglou has snapped up two wide attackers in Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada. The latter has fired in on his debut and the hopes are high from Furuhashi who is rated highly by the gaffer. The former Yokohama F. Marinos chief prefers a free-flowing passing football, and therefore, is highly reliant on the wingers over a traditional marksman.

Niang was an emerging prospect when AC Milan secured his services from Caen nine years ago. Despite early promises, the attacker could not fulfil his potential and was eventually signed by Rennes for around €15m. He had an impressive loan stint back in 2018-19 which convinced the Red and Blacks to tie him down permanently.

The player, however, had an underwhelming 2020-21 campaign due to form and fitness woes. A winter loan move to Al-Ahli did not work out either and a fresh move elsewhere is now making the rumour mills with newly-promoted Venezia leading the race for the versatile Senegalese. Niang is comfortable across the frontline and the Bhoys must step up the chase if they are indeed keen on having him in their ranks.

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