Celtic is in the market for a new striker, as everyone knows well.
That player should be signed as soon as the window opens, because he is going to have to carry us through a critical part of the campaign; our entire forward line is away for the Asian Cup. We’re signing the guy who will have to marshal the team through that incredibly difficult spell.
Sydney Van Hooijdonk is one of the names being thrown about. I like the idea. He has a good pedigree and a good record and he’s still only 23. Because of his experience I have confidence that he can do the job and help us over the line in those matches.
But he’s not the only striker we’re being linked with. Another is a kid called Luke Baartman. He’s from South Africa, and he’s being compared – no kidding – to Henrik Larsson. Sounds ideal, right? Why wouldn’t we want someone like that?
Well, he’s only 17. Comparisons with Larsson at 17? Has his voice even broken yet? Why do people in football constantly do this to young players? Why do they set them up to fail like this? We don’t even know if this guy can actually play; he’s a kid, by and large playing against other kids.
On top of that, the pressures of a high-profile football career are enormous, it’s a high-wire act where vastly more fail than make it.
We have watched some of the best players ever to play the game in the last two decades, but I suspect there were footballers with even greater potential who we never got to see because they quite literally fell through the cracks because that pressure, or the outside temptations, crushed them before they made it.
This is such a stupid comparison and it is seriously unfair with it. It heaps pressure on shoulders which are, in all probability, far too young and narrow to carry that weight.
It seems a bit irresponsible if I’m being honest.
It’s worth pointing out, too, that this is not Celtic’s fault, as we’re not the ones making that daft comment. That’s someone at his current club. Also, we’re not looking at this kid as a first team footballer. This one would definitely be a “project.”
But what a terrible start it would be for yet, if this deal came off, for yet another kid to come to this club with lunatic assessments like this dogging him at every step.
Larsson was a genuinely world class footballer, but I would argue that he only turned into one whilst he was at Parkhead and he was well into his 20’s before he did … so this kid has a long way to go even if he was capable of hitting the ground running, and it would be terrible to do that to him.
Honestly, I get hyping people but you can say “this kid has real potential” and leave it at that. Larsson would make it almost every “Greatest Celtic Eleven Ever” team and that about sums up how ridiculous it is to give him this kind of build up.