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Why Scott Sinclair and Celtic are the perfect fit



The 27-year-old English winger is a very talented football player, and was highly rated after his spell with Swansea City at the start of the decade, scoring 28 goals in 82 games for the Swans.

However, a disastrous spell at Manchester City left Scott Sinclair’s career in serious jeopardy, in the same way the financial giants destroyed young English hopefuls Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell and almost Raheem Sterling.

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Last season, Sinclair got his escape from the Sky Blues after having spent a season on loan at Aston Villa, but if anything landed himself in an even murkier situation at the drowning Villa, but it did allow him time on the pitch to contribute to his team and perhaps more importantly prove his worth.

After Aston Villa’s relegation to the Football Championship, the man from Bath made the move north to Scotland, signing for Celtic after finding the net on two occasions for Aston Villa in one season.

Six games into the Scottish league season, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic have only dropped two points and already have a four-point buffer to Aberdeen in second, with new signings Moussa Dembélé and Scott Sinclair contributing heavily to the Hoops’ continuation of domination at the top of Scottish football.

So, what is it that makes Scott Sinclair and Celtic such a good match?

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To understand it is important to look back at Sinclair’s history, and in particular his relationship with Brendan Rodgers with whom he has teamed up with in the Scottish capital.

Sinclair’s first club were Bristol Rovers, where he stayed for just one season in 2004-2005 before joining Chelsea for an initial fee of £200,000. The speedy forward stayed with the Blues all the way until 2010, but was sent away on loan to several clubs from 2007 onward, including Plymouth Argyle, QPR, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic.

Chelsea was the first time Sinclair worked under Rodgers, with the Northern Irishman working as Jose Mourinho’s youth and then reserve manager. Despite not playing a great deal for the 2011-2012 Champions League winners, Sinclair did have some key moments, including setting up Frank Lampard’s 100th Chelsea goal, but all in all his time in West London mainly taught him resolve, jumping around from various clubs waiting for his chance to shine.

That chance came in 2010, when Brendan Rodgers signed the winger for Swansea City as he looked to get the Swans promoted to the Premier League.

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Rodgers duly did so, and Scott Sinclair was one of the key men in Swansea’s success, blossoming a special relationship between manager and player, with the player recently commenting how he feels Rodgers believes in him and gives him confidence.

Sinclair’s goal-scoring ratio in the Championship winning 2010-11 season was more than a goal every two games in a season which saw him net his first career hat-trick, and he kept on impressing the following season in the Premier League, scoring on eight occasions.

This was enough to persuade Manchester City to come in for the forward, but things didn’t really work out in Manchester, with Sinclair making just 19 appearances in a Sky Blue shirt.

Aston Villa provided the platform to re-impress, but the whole team was totally sapped of confidence, so instead of gaining plaudits for his own individual performances all the focus was on the team’s woeful defending and incredible slump.

A chance to link up with Brendan Rodgers once again was too good to miss, and after impressing in pre-season, Sinclair has now scored six goals in Celtic’s first six league games, scoring in all of them and looking like the bargain of the century at just £3 million.

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To return to the original question after that history lesson, the main two reasons Sinclair has proved to be a revelation at Scottish champions Celtic are Brendan Rodgers and resolve.

Sinclair has been his most impressive at Swansea and now Celtic, teams which the former Liverpool manager has been at the helm of. It could be argued that Sinclair’s upturn of form compared to last season is because of the ease of the SPL compared to the Premier League and this in part is true, but Rodgers has proven to be able to get the best out of the Englishman. And everyone knows a player plays much better when he is full of confidence.

The second reason – resolve – mainly stems from his frequent loan spells when at Chelsea and frustrating time on the bench at Manchester City. He now has the sincere urge to prove himself, and has a manager who believes in him right behind him.

This links to why he suits Celtic. Sinclair brings with him plenty of experience from the various tiers of English football, and is a goal threat particularly when on the break with his pace and dribbling ability. Celtic tend to dominate teams, and Sinclair has the ability and composure to beat a man and keep hold of the ball. He is a perfect wide option for the Bhoys who like a deep squad to cope with European competition.

Scott Sinclair has certainly made a difference in just one month at Celtic, and could either be on the way back to the Premier League or to becoming a club legend at Celtic. But either way, Celtic fans will be glad they have got him.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa want Stephane Bahoken, who had woeful St Mirren loan in 2013-14

Aston Villa and a heap of other teams want the Cameroon international this summer.



Aston Villa are said to be one of four English teams chasing the Strasbourg striker Stephane Bahoken this summer. France Football says Villa are keen, along with Swansea and Stoke City. The Express also mention Brighton, stating the Seagulls are frontrunners for the player.

Aston Villa’s interest will not be a surprise to many. They were heavily linked with Bahoken’s signature in January as well. SFR reported in the winter that Aston Villa wanted to bring him in on loan until the end of the season. Strasbourg refused but with his contract expiring this summer Aston Villa look set to return.

(Photo credit should read PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images)

But something that is not being spoken about from the player’s past is his loan spell at Scottish side St Mirren.

Bahoken joined the Paisley side on loan from former club Nice in the summer of 2013. It should have been an exciting experience for the club and the player, but it was anything but.

Bahoken played four times for the club before the deal was cancelled in December. After a month in which another loan move failed to be ratified he headed back to the Scottish Premiership side. But, he did not play another game for the club. Four games, zero goals. It was a disaster for the Cameroonian striker.

Such a disastrous stint north of the border must be something Aston Villa and any other interested party will be concerned about.

(Photo credit should read XAVIER LEOTY/AFP/Getty Images)

He himself even admitted to being like a ‘spoilt kid’ at the club when talking to the Daily Record. He vowed to become a man.

It would be fair to say Bahoken has come a long way since his disastrous loan in Scotland.

After leaving Nice for Strasbourg in 2014 he quickly became very important for the team. This season he has scored seven goals in 23 games and his displays even earned him a first call-up to the Cameroon national team this year.

Aston Villa know that his signature would be a risk, based on his St Mirren disaster and rather muted goal record.

But seeing as he is a free transfer, it might be worth rolling the dice.

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Aston Villa

Lovre Kalinic best keeper in Belgium, two years after red tape scuppered Aston Villa move

The Croatian has been in fine form since his move to KAA Gent.



Back in January 2016, it looked like Aston Villa had found themselves a new goalkeeper. It looked like Croatian stopper Lovre Kalinic was on his way to join Villa – who at the time seemed doomed to relegation from the Premier League. The giant goalkeeper had been in talks with Villa for some time and the Daily Mail reported that a £4.9 million fee had been agreed between Villa and his club, Hajduk Split.

It soon emerged however that Kalinic would not be making the move. As reported by Index Kalinic did not have the requisite qualifications to be eligible for a work permit to play football in the UK. He had not fulfilled the quota of playing 75 percent of games for Croatia in the past two years – playing just once.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

That summer Aston Villa signed Italian Pierluigi Gollini, whilst Kalinic remained in Croatia until the following January. In the winter window of 2017, the goalie headed to Belgium, joining KAA Gent for a club record fee.

To say his move has been a success would be an understatement. Kalinic has been in fine form for the Belgian side. Despite playing just half of last season he was named the Goalkeeper of the Season in Belgium. He has just received the same accolade for the current campaign.

Aston Villa eventually did find a new goalkeeper, with Sam Johnstone arriving on loan from Manchester United.

But with his deal expiring at the end of the season, and Villa chasing promotion, should they return for Kalinic two years down the line?

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images,)

The 28-year-old is clearly good enough to make the step to English football and at one point was very excited to head to Villa Park.

He has played much more regularly for the Croatian national team and is now in a genuine battle with Monaco’s Danijel Subasic to be number one at this summer’s World Cup. If Kalinic can get the nod there, then a work permit will no longer be an issue.

With Johnstone only on loan, Aston Villa need to consider the fact they might need to find a different keeper in the summer. Two years ago they found the perfect man for the job in the form of the 6ft 5ins goalie but red tape stopped his arrival.

This summer they should surely consider going for Kalinic once again.

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Aston Villa

Ritchie De Laet has now been dropped by his loan club

The Aston Villa defender is now struggling for football at Antwerp.



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When Aston Villa started to make wholesale improvements to the squad in the summer of 2016 they went on a spending spree bringing in talent good enough for the Premier League. One man they snapped up was even a Premier League winner the season before.

Ritchie De Laet was snapped up in the summer of 2016 after a season in which he won both the Premier League with Leicester City and promotion with Middlesbrough whilst on loan.

Considering he had also won promotion with Leicester in 2014, he looked the perfect addition to the Aston Villa fold.

Unfortunately, that has not proved to be the case.

The Belgian defender, who cost a fee reported by The Sun to be in the region of £2.5 million, was earmarked as the solution to Villa’s problem position of right-back.

However, De Laet never managed to have any sustained impact at Villa. He played just three times in his first season at the club before picking up a knee injury against Brentford. He was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the season.

This term he managed to feature sporadically through the first-half of the season but in January found himself out of contention. The 29-year-old was therefore sent out on loan to his boyhood club Royal Antwerp until the end of the season.

He immediately went into the starting XI for the Belgian side but has recently been dropped for the Europa League play-off fixtures.

It comes after a switch to 3-5-2 from his loan club, who have preferred to play Benfica loanee Aurelio Buta at right wing-back ahead of De Laet.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

This will certainly not have been the plan for De Laet, who will have hoped to have found his best form again in Belgium. However, it has not been that straightforward and he now finds himself on the bench.

This summer will be interesting for De Laet. It certainly does not seem as though Steve Bruce sees him as an Aston Villa player in the future. If the Villans can also capture promotion, it is expected new faces will arrive to push De Laet even further down the pecking order.

Thriving out on loan might have changed the mind of a few figures at Villa Park.

But seeing as he is not even an immediate starter with Antwerp, Aston Villa will likely consider him dispensable in the summer.

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