Celtic have again been linked with Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher and it seems to have the Celtic support cut down the middle. Some fans would love to see the striker come to Celtic Park and work under Ronny Deila and others like myself think that his wages on top of his injuries and lack of goals is more than enough reasons to see Celtic pass on the Scot. But make up your own mind…
The Scottish International has been plying his trade down south since 2009 when he signed for Burnley from Hibs. Many will remember Gordon Strachan wanting to sign the player the January before to prop up his title bid. A title Celtic lost on the last day of the season, many pointing to the missed opportunity of a potent striker being the catalyst for failure to secure league trophy.
Since then Steven has had two moves in England, first to Wolves in 2010 for an eye watering £6.5million a massive amount of money when you consider the player only scored 12 goals in 37 appearances for Burnley. He went on to score 25 goals in 71 appearances for the Molineux side before making a move to Sunderland in 2012 for a mind bending, soul wrenching £12million. Think about that for a second, Sunderland spent £12million on the striker. In total he has played 90 games for Sunderland, 17 of those appearances coming from the bench and he’s scored a grand total of 19 goals! That means that everyone of his goals has cost Sunderland £631,578 plus change – A staggering statistic. However I don’t put the blame on him for that stat as he has no control over what clubs pay for his services but his goal scoring record alone isn’t up to scratch.
Of course there are people who will sight that it’s much easier to score goals in the SPFL and he will get a barrel load if he returned north. There are simply no guarantees that this will be the case and with his wage sitting at £50,000-a-week even a significant wage reduction to come to Celtic would be at the highest end of the wage restrictions we work under. We have a player in Leigh Griffith’s that can guarantee us goals in the SPFL so potentially paying the 28-year-olds wages in the hope he gets us 30 a season is questionable.
There is the Champions League of course and we’re hoping to qualify this time around for the big cup. This is where we would need to see him excel if we signed him. Unproven at that level and struggles to find the net in a one up top system it would not fill me with confidence.
If we are to believe the press and Sunderland are willing to let the player go for £2million and for talking sake he agreed to be paid 20k a week at Celtic would this be an attractive option? Considering the boards position on buy cheap and young and sell high this would be a definite risk in this case because if he didn’t deliver there is very little re-sale value. Not that this is any of my concern as I want the best players Celtic can get on their books regardless of age or price but our system has been working.
Yes, I’ve been pretty negative here and people in his corner will no doubt want to take a pop but if Celtic were to sign the striker then he would immediately get my green-tinted, unequivocal backing like any other player (bar Kenny Miller) that’s ever dawned the famous Hoops jersey. However my concerns are there and while I don’t have any shortlist of better strikers we could reasonably get I do feel that there will be better options out there if the club are looking in the right places. The scouting system at Celtic Park is vast and if they can’t find someone beyond Steven Fletcher then the scouts are failing the club and the manager.