Celtic And The Need For Another Striker: Is It Really A Problem Needing A Solution?

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The injury news we didn’t want was delivered just the other day, when we found out that big Oh is going to be missing for up to six weeks. It’s not a disaster. It might better be characterised as a warning. There are some who believe we still need another striker. This isn’t the last time we will have an injury to a key player … is it a position where we are weak?

There are things to consider here.

First, there’s an argument for saying we aren’t exactly short. I don’t agree, but a case could be made. We have two fine forwards in the squad still, Kyogo and Maeda, and Forrest and Abada have both played through the middle before. There are goals all through the midfield.

But obviously, if we’re going to play Maeda out wide that’s a problem, because you’re asking these guys to play every week without a break. If we’re benching one of them then that’s a little better, but is our team better off for that? I would argue no.

Oh is going to be out for a while, but this isn’t a six month injury or anything like that. He’ll be back with us by the end of September if not sooner, and although it’s a blow, what are we supposed to do about it? If there’s a plan for the signings to come, should we ditch it because of something that will be resolved in a matter of weeks?

See, this is what troubles me about the modern fan mentality.

Something like this induces panic, and the demands to spend money to rectify it. But say you had directors who saw spending money as an acceptable solution to this problem. What would happen?

They could go out, spend a few quid – and neglect other areas of the team – and for what? In six weeks time, when Oh is fit again, we could have at least one of our strikers permanently cooling his heels.

Of course it’s a risk. But spending the money on a new striker just because Oh is injured would be even dafter. If a new striker was part of Rodgers’ plan we’ll get one in due course but not some silly stop gap measure, but someone in because that’s what was being plotted behind the scenes for a while. We aren’t signing a right back just because Johnston is out and he, it could be argued, is a bigger loss to the side in the short term than Oh is.

I’ll be honest with you; although the tone of this article might suggest otherwise, I thought we needed a fourth striker even before this happened and I reckon we need one. I do support the idea of signing another one, and he has to be a good one, because we will be rotating this team and we will need as many top players as we can get.

But I also think endlessly about the squad size and we’d have to lose a couple of players from the midfield if we were even seriously entertaining it. There’s talk tonight of Abada being linked with a move to France or Germany; I hope whoever the interested parties are that they come with plenty of wonga, because they will need it.

But with Jota already out the door selling Abada as well cannot possibly be allowed to happen unless we’re replacing both and with top talents … I don’t believe we’re emerging from this window weaker, in part because I still expect something big to happen before it closes … but selling Abada would leave us markedly worse off than we are right now, and excuses and half measures would not suffice from anyone at Celtic Park.

I have defended the policies of the club thus far, but there’s an awareness in the stands of how colossally unprepared we are at the moment for the Champions League.

I don’t think we should spend mad money just on the off-chance it closes what might be an insurmountable gap, but some signs that people inside Celtic Park take the prospect seriously would certainly not go amiss.

Only a handful of fans place a greater store in what’s in the bank than what’s out on the pitch, and although I’ve defended like Hell the fiscal strategy because it is sound and it is sane, it would be indefensible to leave the manager and the team out on a limb when that’s not necessary. People will be really pissed off if this window closes without that being addressed.

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  • Benjamin says:

    Reasonable people can disagree about this, but I think they’ve got enough cover to be able to withstand a 6 week injury to anyone in the squad with the possible exception of Joe Hart.

    If you look at the forward players – wingers and strikers – as a group, there is more than adequate coverage for Oh for 6 weeks. And I think looking at the wingers and strikers on a combined basis makes sense as most of them can play in more than one role across the front line. Right now across the three positions we have: Kyogo, Oh, Abada, Forrest, Maeda, Tilio, Yang, and Haksabanovic. Even with Oh temporarily out of action, that’s still 7 healthy and fit players for 3 positions. And that also doesn’t include Mikey Johnston or Ajeti.

    The solution, at least to me, if we need to give Kyogo a rest is to play Maeda through the middle and then give some minutes to Tilio, Yang, or Haksabanovic on the left. Or alternatively to play Abada in the middle and play Forrest, Yang, or Tilio on the right. The point is there are lots of options here, and that group of attacking players will score goals in bunches domestically regardless of which 3 are playing or which opponent we’re facing. A 6 week injury to Oh is not a problem that requires a multimillion pound outlay to solve. The solution is already in the squad IMO. And before anyone scream ‘CHAMPIONS LEAGUE’, that 6 week window ends the week of the first Champions League match. There’s a decent chance Oh is back for that match, and even if he’s not he should definitely be back for the remainder. It’s not an issue.

    The other thing to consider here with potentially all new incoming transfers is the UEFA squad registration. We’re limited to 17 non-homegrown/association players. And from last year’s roster, we’ve lost Jota, Starfelt, and Mooy while we’ve brought in Nawrocki, Holm, Kwon, Tilio, and Yang. Assuming all the new players will be included, that means 2 players from last year’s squad will have to be left off this years list. Who is that going to be? Hatate? Haksa? O’Reilly? Adding even more players necessarily means others will be left off the Champions League roster. A like for like replacement (say a new LB with Bernabei left off) makes at least some sense if the squad is significantly upgraded. But I don’t get the sense that any of the midfield or attacking players we’re looking for are significantly better than what we already have after a summer of significant investment in that area of the team.

  • Jimmy R says:

    I don’t think we will be spending silly amounts of money on a striker, but like you, I think we need another striker because come January / February we could well be without, Kyogo, Oh and Maeda as they play in the Asian Championships. Forrest and Abada can play through the middle but it is neither’s natural position. (Think Iwata at RB / CB) We will need that cover at an important time in the season. I could live with a decent loan from January as long as we get quality cover in the building.

  • Johnno says:

    Would say James that there are other areas within the team that need to be prioritised at present moreso than another striker at present imo.
    Don’t believe we have replaced Jota properly at present which I find quite annoying, especially when the start of the season is upon us now.
    No problem with having meada as a potential 3rd choice striker, and still potentially could get the best out of him through the centre, yet haven’t got a great replacement in waiting upon the left, with Forrest blowing so hot and cold, and believe hako isn’t suited on the left whatsoever imo.
    Sunday hopefully will give us far better indication as to what Rodgers plan’s could be, but hopefully they are much improved upon last week, as potentially giving up points on Sunday will be deemed as unacceptable, especially with so much funds readily available

  • John Smith says:

    James Forrest??, Celtic are weaker , because Kenny miller said so,,,

  • SSMPM says:

    Another striker would I think be wise but it has to be a good one and one whereby there’s an understanding by which he and Kyogo are willing to be rested or rotated or else it’s a pointless exercise. Oh I believe would be the beneficiary also particularly when/if we play with two up front. Rotation would reduce the chances of potential for harm to Kyogo’s annual hamstring issues and thus for the team too. We can’t in this CL group season be left with just Oh or an injured Oh for a few months when/if Kyogo comes a cropper. Provided that is, the snake does not try to reunite with Kyogo at Tottingham.
    Already, like O’Riley, I see clear signs of better management from Brendan. Tbh honest I thought we were becoming really tired and stale in the latter part of last season. We stopped “never stop” about Xmas and after the 3-0 at the midden, the increasing tactical deficiencies were there for all to see. Even the huns were starting to feel jollied in the season ahead. Not now.
    If we’re about to see Hatate go too, and I hope not, then imo we’ll also be needing a tough tackling midfield type as well as a replacement goalie. Joe’s been good for the club but if he remains the number one this season, all season, then he definitely won’t be next. The maxim should be, be prepared. HH

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    James. This is a discussion piece rather than a headline statement.

    The simple solution here is we have Yang to play wide which releases Abada to play the other side (although I don’t think he’s all that comfortable there) and we can push Maeda further up.

    But that’s not my main point. What I’m cross about here and should be the main talking point is the injury to OH.

    This is self inflicted by the club in my opinion. I used to play football. I needed to be playing week in week out to get my rhythm, fitness,speed of the game etc but most of all it kept me robust. I took tackles. Bounced off bodies. Fell. Jarred myself. Your body needs that every week. That’s called conditioning. And it especially matters when you are a physical player like the big lad is. He needs to be playing every week.

    And I don’t mean full games but he needs to be playing because this could become a problem for him and us I think I am right in saying this is his third short term injury so far and all the indications point to conditioning issues caused by lack of game time. Get him on. Play him. He’ll score goals. We’ll seel him for

  • Gerrard Duffin says:


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