Most Celtic fans would be forgiven for overlooking the fact Vakoun Issouf Bayo was only purchased at the start of the calendar year. In what seems like such a distant time ago the Ivorian striker was brought in from Dunajská Streda for a fee of around £2.1 million pounds.

Much was expected of the Bhoys’ number 10 in a window where Celtic primarily focused on bringing in attacking reinforcements in-order to successfully thwart any threat of competition from elsewhere in wrapping up league title number eight.

For the Hoops, the second half of the 18/19 season was a roaring success as another treble triumph obliterated the history books and once again emphasised how dominant Celtic have been not only for the last eight years but since the beginning of the century. However, for Bayo on the other hand – the second half of the season couldn’t have proved to be any more uneventful.

Firstly being left out of the Europa League knockout stage squad, coupled with a horrendous run of injuries which has left the 22-year old with just three whole minutes to his name with regards to Celtic appearances. This has left any hope of the forward making an impact thus far in a Celtic shirt in tatters. It has proven to be a source of frustration for the player himself alongside the coaching staff and fans alike as Celtic have had to rely on Odsonne Edouard – who has been the Hoops only reliably consistent readily available centre-forward for quite some time.

So what exactly can the Ivory Coast international offer?

The striker is known by fans of the Slovak Super Liga as being someone who enjoys the physical side of the game, something which could bode well for European games under Neil Lennon as he is known to enjoy having a target man at his disposal especially in bigger games. This together with a tendency to get on the end of crosses into the box could be pivotal for Celtic, as the new manager is known to set up his sides to play direct, purposeful football.

With plenty of balls being whipped into the box as a consequence as has been seen during most of the Irishman’s managerial tenures. Lennon could well be the man to get the best out of the striker if he can overcome his fitness concerns.

Perhaps the 6ft striker’s foremost trait is his impressive conversion rate that he demonstrated during his time in Slovakia. With 24 appearances in all competitions in season 2018-19, the Hoops man showed his efficiency in the last third of the pitch with a total of 18 goals and seven assists to his name; a goal contribution of 109 minutes per goal to be precise. Additionally, Bayo averaged a goal every 50 minutes in the Slovnaft Cup scoring five goals in three which is quite an astounding record.

The notion that Bayo is involved in a goal almost every 90 minutes is encouraging one for Celtic, as they cannot simply keep relying on Odsonne Edouard banging in the goals in the forthcoming season. Reinforcements are needed across most areas of the pitch for the Celts in their charge for a record-equalling ninth league triumph in a row. The Ivory Coast international will be hoping that he can fill the void up top for the Treble Treble winners in what promises to be an intriguing season for the champions both domestically and in Europe.

Sean Markus Clifford


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