For the past 2 weeks there has been talk of a Gary Hooper return.
The Englishman has fell out of favour at Norwich and the club are looking to move him on whether it be out on-loan or permanently.
Celtic and Gary Hooper were a match made in heaven a few years back under Neil Lennon. The player scoring 63 goals in 95 appearances in the famous hoops. But a lot has changed since then. We have a new manager, new team, new system and new training regime.
How well would Gary Hooper fit into what Ronny Deila is doing?
For a start Ronny likes to have one man up top with two attacking midfielders either side supporting the lone striker. Does this play into Gary Hooper’s strengths? Not at all. The Norwich striker played best with a partner, particularly Anthony Stokes who developed an almost telepathic field between one an other. Norwich play a similar on up-front system, hence why the player has struggled to hold down a place in the team only scoring 18 goals in 63 appearances.
There is then the issue of fitness. We have a lot of friends down Norwich way that tell us Gary can be lazy and had turned up to this particular pre-season looking a bit worse for ware. This would be a massive no-no under Ronny Deila who demands the absolute highest standard of fitness from his players regardless of the time of year. A case could be made that Ronny could whip him into shape but that could prove a hard task especially when Celtic need a striker ready to go if they do get into the Champions League.
Gary Hooper is not a great footballer, he is a goal-scorer, a poacher who will get you X amount of goals a season depending on circumstance. This is not a criticism of Gary but another reason why he would not fit into the current system at Celtic. While we should never turn our nose up at a player who had such a great vain of form in a Celtic jersey we should however be cautious over a return.
The players wages are believed to be in the region of 32k per week. A wage Celtic would not and should not match. Especially for a player who has seen little proper game time over the past year or so.
The nostalgia factor of the days Gary downed a team from Govan and reminiscing about last minute winners etc should not be the catalyst behind a move for him now.
Leigh Griffiths is really starting to come into his own and while Celtic should pursue another striking option, especially if they’re dead-set on selling Scepovic and Stokes, I just don’t see Hooper being the man for Celtic in Europe.
Just one persons opinion of course. There will be many who would love the player to re-sign and I understand their logic but the only way I want to see Gary Hooper score a goal for Celtic again is if I’ve happened upon a TARDIS and travelled back in time.