In January of 2016 Celtic identified the striker target they wanted to bring in to counteract the lack of impact of summer arrival Nadir Ciftci. The player in question was Heracles Almelo striker Wout Weghorst, with The Scotsman suggesting he could be a Celtic player for a fee of £2 million.
A towering figure at 6ft 4ins tall Weghorst was in good form with the Eredivisie club and Celtic’s interest looked promising.
However, the Dutchman did not head to Glasgow and in the summer headed to Dutch rivals AZ Alkmaar as a replacement for the Tottenham Hotspur-bound Vincent Janssen.
It is fair to say Celtic are now regretting not signing the player. Weghorst has been in fantastic form since joining AZ. Last season he found the back of the net on 18 occasions and this season has been even more impressive for the 24-year-old.
Weghorst has scored 22 goals for AZ this season and that form has paid off with the ultimate accolade. With Janssen injured, Weghorst received his first call-up to the Netherlands national team. New manager Ronald Koeman went on to hand him his debut in the 1-0 loss against England in the week.
That January, when Celtic failed to secure a deal for Weghorst they did sign Colin Kazim-Richards who, along with Carlton Cole, did not fill any sort of striker void.
Since then Celtic have done better in the transfer market. Scott Sinclair has added goals from attacking midfield whilst Moussa Dembele is a top talent.
But Weghorst is a different beast to both players and would have been an excellent asset for Celtic.
Now he is playing at international level for the Netherlands, Celtic would find it hard to convince the striker into a Parkhead switch.
If only the Bhoys could have secured his signature when they had the chance.
John Hartson is right, as Celtic go backward to Ronny Deila level
Celtic are out of the Champions League following defeat to AEK Athens.
Celtic are out of the Champions League and it is certainly not a situation that has gone down well at Parkhead. Fans and pundits are not particularly livid at the manager Brendan Rodgers or the players, who undoubtedly gave it their all. But rather it is the Celtic board that is in the crosshairs.
The 2-1 defeat at AEK Athens last night has been seen coming for some time. Despite bringing in Odsonne Edouard in a club record deal this summer Celtic boss Rodgers has been calling for more investment for some time. With only Scott Bain tying up a permanent deal and Emilio Izaguirre returning, the transfer business at Celtic has been otherwise dire.
It was a subject touched upon by former Celtic player John Hartson. The Welshman, who played 201 times for the Bhoys scoring 109 goals, tweeted:
Scratching my head as to why the Celtic money men wouldn’t back a manager that has had so much success.. you have to keep moving forward.. in particular when you are so dominant financially!!
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) August 14, 2018
His point is valid. The hard work done by Celtic manager Rodgers to get them where they were at the start of the summer has now been undermined.
Sure, they are still dominating Scottish football, even if Steven Gerrard’s Rangers revival might have some itchy bums in seats.
But in terms of European football? Celtic are now no better off than they were when Ronny Deila got the boot in 2016.
It is hard to hear, but falling to a side like AEK is as comparable to Deila’s struggles against Legia Warsaw, Maribor or Malmo.
Celtic have gone backward from a position where it almost seemed impossible to do so. Hopefully, Rodgers sticks around for the fight.
One to watch: Celtic’s 19-year-old winger Daniel Arzani
Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…
Not many people saw Daniel Arzani menacing down the flanks of many an A-League pitch in the last 12 months.
Millions of people did, however, see the raw talent that the Australian possesses after three impressive cameos off the bench at this year’s World Cup – a tournament at which he was the youngest player.
And now he will head to Celtic on loan, playing in a league that will provide a sterner physical test while still allowing him to develop in the comfortable surroundings of a strong, attacking team.
An attribute that will be of vital importance in the fledgling stages of the 19-year-old’s career at Celtic is his ability to play on both wings.
At Melbourne City, he constantly changed flanks from game to game – and even during games.
On the right flank, he likes to use his speed to stretch the pitch and make runs to the by-line.
On the left, he enjoys using his incisive dribbling to move inside and head towards the penalty box.
He will be hoping to improve on his production though.
While impressive in the league, his record of two goals and one assist in 1,195 minutes is not particularly stellar.
In saying that, he has shown more than a few glimpses of the underlying raw talent needed to succeed at a higher level.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold glowingly endorsed the move, telling reporters this week, “It’s a big move for the kid. He’s a very intelligent kid. He knows what his plan is”.
With the international retirement of Tim Cahill, many in Arzani’s native Australia are looking towards the 19-year-old to be the face of the next generation.
Weirdly, he will try to grow into that role out of the national spotlight in the confines of Glasgow, Celtic Park and the Champions League.
One to Watch: Celtic’s Kieran Tierney unstoppable down the flank in AEK draw
One to Watch pick Kieran Tierney impressed despite stalemate against AEK.
Celtic’s quest for Champions League football hit a hurdle as they draw 1-1 with AEK Athens at Celtic Park in the first leg of their qualifying tie.
Kieran Tierney, however, can feel absolved of much of the blame.
After being rested on the weekend in anticipation of this game, he looked fresh.
The Scottish full-back was unstoppable on the left-flank, as he constantly put pressure on an AEK defensively line trying to be compact as possible.
He did not allow them to be. He constantly bombarded down the wing, looking to stretch the defence, and he was consistently afforded the room to get into dangerous positions.
In the first half, he almost won a penalty with a direct run towards goal that the referee judged to be just outside the box
The Celtic defender was also instrumental in the build-up to the Hoops’ goal.
His foray into the box led to a deflected pass to Callum McGregor, who made no mistake smashing home to put Celtic ahead.
He also put in multiple dangerous crosses that slid through the penalty area without a Celtic player managing to get on the end of one.
In the second-half, Tierney moved to press forward even higher up the pitch after AEK were reduced to ten men early in the half.
With Celtic struggling to break the deadlock, they switched to a back three, moving the 21-year-old into a more defensive role.
But he continued to make forays forward as the Hoops camped themselves in the Greek side’s half for the final 20 minutes.
While Celtic were denied a first-leg advantage, Tierney will take great confidence into the second-leg after an all-round excellent performance.
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