Is Aston Villa's Scott Sinclair really what Celtic need to progress?

Is Aston Villa's Scott Sinclair really what Celtic need to progress?

Celtic have returned with a new vigour under manager Brendan Rodgers, as he looks to bolster the Bhoys’ options up-front in a bid to fend off Rangers in the title race once more, as well as gearing up for what will hopefully prove a more fruitful assault on Europe this coming campaign.

Aston Villa attacker Scott Sinclair has been identified as a target for some time, but according to the Birmingham Mail, Celtic’s determination to secure his signature will prompt an incredible fourth bid from the Glasgow outfit, with a previous three having been turned down by Villa.


The Englishman has been a priority target for Rodgers and Celtic, but the Birmingham club are seemingly unwilling to allow their asset to depart on the cheap having rebuffed a £2.75 million approach earlier in the week. Celtic’s fourth approach may be in the region of £4 million, in hope of finally prising the former Chelsea, Swansea and Manchester City front-man away from Villa Park. The Daily Record’s reckoning however is that the Championship club are holding out for their £5 million asking price.

Such an expensive price-tag seems hefty for a player who outwardly has done very little in recent memory, but Rodgers is a keen admirer of the player given their exploits together at former club Swansea. Sinclair was the darling of the Liberty Stadium, firing Swansea to promotion to the Premier League for the first time and was instrumental in keeping Swansea afloat in the top-flight in their first season.


Rodgers has also known the 27-year old since he was youngster, having worked with him in the youth system at Chelsea, where Sinclair never quite maximised his potential, until a move away from Stamford Bridge provided the springboard necessary to reignite his career. Since leaving the Swans for Manchester City in 2012- the same year in which Rodgers left for Liverpool- his career has wained along with his first-team opportunities and his search for first-team football led him to the door of Aston Villa via a loan spell at West Brom.

Sinclair has since shown fragments of his quality in what has become a rather stagnant career, but his handful of highs in Villa colours include a winning goal in the FA Cup against the Albion in 2015, and a Premier League brace against Sunderland in 2015/16. So could Sinclair really be the man to make the difference for Celtic?


The Aston Villa squad currently at Roberto Di Matteo’s disposal is oversized, and the Italian manager and new owner Tony Xia will be keen to trim their roster to make room for any new arrivals to strengthen the side. If Celtic can stump up the cash, an acquisition of Sinclair is likely, and the Scottish Premiership may just be an ideal fit for the player to get firing again.

Under Rodgers, the key thing for Sinclair would be that he’d be guaranteed a run of games. His most consistent appearances were under the Northern Irishman at Swansea, and in 82 league appearances he returned 28 goals from the wing and a host of assists. At Manchester City, he made only 13 Premier League appearances in three years (between 2012 and 2015) and although he has seen more first-team football at Villa Park, taking part in a struggling side he has been unable to produce goals. Indeed the mere 27 goals in 38 games in the top flight that Villa managed last season was the lowest tally across all four professional divisions. At Celtic, under a manager who believes in the player, and at a level of football where with consistent appearances he could truly shine, he may make a positive impact not only in providing goals but in rediscovering his own goal-scoring touch.


The lure of European football will also provide an opportunity for the player to project his name again. Celtic are in pole position with an away goal against Astana to progress to the final qualifying round to the Champions League. With European football very nearly a certainty, be it Champions League or Europa League, the opportunity to compete with some of Europe’s elite clubs may just be the tonic to get the best out of the player which will also benefit Celtic in becoming a force on the continent once more.

The key concundrum is whether or not he is worth the money. £5m is a lot for a player who has only shown his potential in fits and starts over the last four seasons, and a lot hinges on whether he can step-up and rediscover his form. Though Celtic offers him the opportunity to do just that, and under a familiar manager, with belief, game-time, a reasonable level of football, good players around him and a big opportunity; the formula is there for Sinclair to make an impression, but it is down to the player himself to step-up to the plate, because Celtic need a player of such financial standing to really step-up to the mark and hit the ground running.

What Sinclair does bring at 27, is experience. Celtic already have a goalscorer in Leigh Griffiths so the pressure of scoring goals won’t be what Celtic require. But his influence will be beneficial for Celtic’s younger players and the creativity he brings to the field will make him a more than healthy acquisition, though at £5m, it could be argued that the money could be better put towards a forward who will also score goals. Bar Leigh Griffiths, Celtic lack a prolific forward. Nadir Ciftci has misfired in Celtic colours so far, and 20-year old Moussa Dembele who recently arrived from Fulham is unproven outside the Championship, where he scored 15 goals.


If Celtic were to lose Griffiths at any stage in the season, they would lack significant firepower. But Sinclair as another form of service for the forwards could potentially salvage more from the forward-line at Celtic already. Outwardly, he may not appear to be the answer to all of Celtic’s problems, nor to be the missing link, but he does have much to offer, and players of that standing in the top tiers don’t come around for as little as £5m very often.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by danae47 

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