Lawrence Shankland For Celtic? It’s Time We Had That Discussion, I Think.

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Last night, Lawrence Shankland scored a good goal for Scotland, as has happened every time he’s had a decent game or done something big in one for the last couple of years the rumour factory is in overdrive about a move to Glasgow.

Both sides names are being tossed around. Vigorously.

Lots of people on both sides of the fence are proposing him for their own club. But others are saying that he’s not got what their clubs need and trying to convince people that he has something to offer the other.

For years I’ve been vocal on this one myself; Lawrence Shankland is not good enough to play for Celtic, and that, to me, ended the discussion. But let’s for a moment have that discussion.

Are there selling points?

And are those selling points worth overlooking that downside, which I believe is the true measure of what we’re talking about here?

Here’s a question, and it’s one that people think is the only question that needs answering in this matter; would Lawrence Shankland score goals for Celtic?

And the answer to that is obvious; unequivocally, yes, he would.

And maybe a lot of them.

Sign him in January, and we virtually put the title in the bag because he’s a penalty box footballer and will do the right things in this league of ours.

That’s a fact. His record is clear on that.

He’s done it at teams who create less chances for strikers than this one, and in this one he would get plenty of them. With his conversion rate that would be turned into goals. No question in my mind.

But that’s not the only variable. Of course it isn’t.

If you need another one try this; if he goes to Ibrox he will score goals there. Plenty of them. More, perhaps, than their current strikers.

Kris Boyd did that too. He was an SPL grade striker. He never did it at a higher level than this league. He was hopeless in Europe and in the games against us he looked out of his depth. But here’s the question in this regard; what if Shankland scores them the goals which keep them on our tail? What if he does it enough to make this a race?

We have signed players before who they were interested in. Scottish players. And they have signed players for no other reason than they once knocked us back. The most obvious one is Novo. He scored plenty of goals for them too.

He was hopeless at stepping up a gear and never did.

But we also signed Scott Allan to stop them getting him, and I genuinely believe that was the only reason for that deal.

Sure as Hell, he never made it as a Celtic player and that was such a shocking waste of money as a result. A completely ridiculous piece of business.

We’re surely beyond that, beyond buying a player just to make sure that they don’t. Would it be a move born of strength … or one that betrayed fear? Guess which way the media would spin it. We certainly wouldn’t credit for signing a decent Scottish player.

Here’s my greater concern.

If we sign Lawrence Shankland as our third striker we’ll have him, Oh and Kyogo. That’s good enough to win the title, of course, but where does that leave us in Europe? Are we going to go out and sign a fourth striker, one who is good enough to compete at that level?

Every single player we sign who is good enough to perform at this level is a squad space less for those who can take us to the next one, and you know full well that people at the top of Celtic would take Shankland and think we’ve got enough there and they might not necessarily bother to look for that genuine quality footballer until we need to replace Kyogo, and then I wouldn’t be shocked if they expected Shankland to step fully into his shoes whilst they foist yet another project on the manager.

Our striker signing for January has to be better than that. Better than the players in this league. The sort of footballer who can score goals at the next level, not just this one.

There is talk about a guy called Kanji Okunuki.

For a start, he’s Japanese and we should be avoiding further Asian signings like the plague at the moment. For another thing, he’s a winger and not a striker and we have one or two of those already and don’t need another one. He plays in the second tier in Germany; it sounds like a low-rent option to me.

Mathias Kvistgaarden is another name being thrown about.

He plays in Denmark and he’s not exactly blasting the goals in every week. He’s 21, he screams Project Player. The idea of us signing him and trusting him to take us through the month of the Asian Cup is terrifying. He certainly doesn’t sound remotely like a “next level” footballer at the moment.

The thing is, even at 21 he’s pretty experienced. We’ve got plenty of data to go on in terms of the kind of player he is, but it’s the goals that are missing so far. It might be he’s one of those guys who is just going to keep improving … but we’d need to see that happen fast, and I would hope that a player in a league like that would be making his qualities more obvious in terms of the stats.

These are the kinds of targets who, frankly, make Shankland sound like the better option, and that, I think is why so many of our fans are even talking about this.

We know about Shankland, there’s no mystery there, he will do the job for us here at home and we already recognise that.

Some mad punt on a guy who’s not done it yet is wildly risky by comparison and every single one of us are entitled to be worried if that’s what the club comes up with.

Sydney Van Hooijdonk is a guy whose name is in the running, but we have no idea whether or not that’s true.

He’s only 23, but he has experience. He has played at a higher level than the other targets, including Shankland, and he has more than 50 career goals. He’s 6’3 and gives us that physical edge which we just don’t have at the moment.

He’s a better bet than any of these other guys. He’s recently been capped for the Dutch Under 23 side, and so he’s seen as a comer.

But he’s a comer who has played a few seasons, and scored in them, in their top division. Reports suggest he’d be available for £4 million.

Shankland was linked with moves in the summer.

Hearts are holding out for a fee in the low millions. He’s 28. His next contract is probably going to need to be the one that keeps him for the rest of his life. I’d think he’d prefer a move to England. He was in Belgium before moving to Hearts, after he moved to Beerschot where he played for a season.

He ended up at Hearts because they got relegated, triggering a minimum release clause, and no-one else came in for him because he’d scored a grand total of five goals for them in 26 league games. And to me, that says it all about the guy.

Like I said, I understand exactly why a lot of our fans would take this guy. He’s a Sure Thing, and one who might end up at Ibrox if we don’t snap him up first.

I would actually have bet on him ending up at Ibrox in the summer just past and consider it a major mistake on their part that they didn’t go for him, as it was a mistake that they didn’t move for Lewis Ferguson some time before the Italians came along and nicked him. They have missed out big time.

And they might just want to put that right in the window, although if I were in the shoes of the person making that decision at Hearts I would consider selling him to a Scottish team as akin to torching Tynecastle. But you never know.

A sure thing is what most Celtic fans want. So I do get it. It’s sensible, its smart, although Hearts would make us bleed for it.

But the more they make us bleed the less value we get for our money and the less chance of us signing a better forward for the Champions League, and those are my primary concerns.

The reasons that I have those concerns are, ironically, the reason the bean-counters inside Celtic might now. I guess in a few months we’ll find out.

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  • Ed says:

    I’d rather have that Celtic gives Vata minutes, instead of buying Shankland. Vata can develop himself into a good player. Shankland wouldn’t become much better, and he isn’t good enough for Celtic.

  • John says:

    James, I don’t see us signing any striker who you would say is going to make a difference for us in Europe, fee and wages for a top striker just blows us away ( in my opinion). Every season our bare minimum should be to win the league, Shankland for me would almost guarantee that and a plus would be that he is Scottish for our UAFA numbers, just my opinion.

    • Woodyiom says:

      John – being Scottish for the UEFA numbers is a moot point if he isn’t good enough for Europe. We don’t get punished for not having the full quota of Scottish players. Its just that the squad is capped at 17 non-Scottish players so from a European perspective we want 8 homegrown players who CAN ACTUALLY make a difference at that level and in my opinion Shankland won’t. Thus the decision to buy him comes down to will he score goals in the SPFL and more importantly for me will he score vs Rangers? No doubts he will score in the league BUT his record vs Rangers is 4 goals in 19 games (which includes Championship, League One and League Two games! so hardly much eveidence that he will score against them!) Personally I would prefer Miovski of Aberdeen if we’re gonna go down the “lets buy an SPFL striker as we know what we’re getting route”. He’s got two goals in just 6 games vs them so for me he’s the better player and 24 has plenty time to get even better.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    I just think we should do this one and get Shankland…

    1) – As you say he’d score for fun domestically for us and the double shuffle is that The Huns would lose out –

    2) – Domestic Football truly is our bread and butter and our current strikers ain’t exactly setting the heather on fire there are they ?

    3) – Then There’s this Asian Cup pish (but it’s very very real and coming down the pipe Parkhead way soon enough)…

    4) With that in mind Shankland at Parkhead Or Liebrox could be the difference between winning and losing this most critical of critical titles…

    5) He is doing the business everywhere he’s been so just imagine how Brendan and Celtic would improve him to a higher level…

    6) While Boyd wasn’t the worst thorn in Celtic’s flesh, he was the difference between Sevco getting three points rather than one in countless games and that’s s very very useful weapon to possess in your armoury and Novo wasn’t too shabby for them either in his time there…

    7) For me – It’s go and get him Celtic the first day in January please !

  • Benjamin says:

    I do think Shankland would be a good signing. Who else we’re looking at beyond Scotland is kind of beside the point IMO. We have 8 roster places reserved for Scottish trained players, and he absolutely would be an upgrade on our Scottish contingent.

    For reference, those 8 right now are: Bain, Taylor, McCarthy, Turnbull, Welsh, McGregor, Ralston, and Forrest. Mikey Johnston is knocking on the door too.

    Looking at that list, the question we ought to be asking is whether Shankland offers us more than McCarthy or Mickey Johnston. And if we’re being honest here, Johnston is likely to take Forrest’s place on that list next season assuming he’s still at the club.

    And if we don’t want to fill one of those Scottish positions with Shankland, who is the next best alternative? Serious question. Unless one of the national team players who’s currently playing club football overseas (Hickey?) wants to come home, it’s doubtful anyone else we could find will be better than Shankland. It really is that simple.

  • Effarr says:

    The first time I saw Shankland he was at Ayr United and I phoned my brother, God rest him, and said Celtic should sign him but I felt Old Firm Sevco would go for him and he would probably jump at the chance. The potential was certainly there and that was around 5 years ago.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Just about any player we could bring intae the club, from outside, or inside the SPL has an element of risk, just like all these loan or ‘prospect’ players. Reason i wouldn’t mind him comin in, no tae put one over them, it’s because he’s an obvious goalscorer and would be interestin tae see the kind of player BR can bring out in him. Who’s tae say for definite, that he wouldnae dae a decent job in Europe in a season or two, if he had the right backin tae push him up a level. Would be worth a shot imo.

  • Jimmy R says:

    Shankland would score SPFL goals for us or the mob across the city. Being realistic, there is unlikely to be a need for goal scoring in Europe post Xmas. Shankland would do a job for us during the Asian Championships. Will we still have three strikers by the start of next season? Let’s face it (painful and unwanted though it is.) English clubs are going to be sniffing around Kyogo, especially if he has a strong second half of the season. Money talks and they’ve got money in abundance. Shankland and Oh could then be the back ups to a next level striker as we go into Europe next season having banked and then spent whatever fee we get for the wee magician. I would be sorry to see him go because he is special. I would love him to stay, just as I wanted Kenny Dalglish and Davie Hay and Lou Macari to stay, but the harsh reality of life is that, money talks. Appreciate the wee man while we can.

  • Paul Mac says:

    Believe he is a rabid Blue nose .. not that that has ever prevented others from signing for us.
    The Hearts employee Halliday would drive him himself to Ibrox even if it meant weakening his own employers in the process. As they only registered 22 for the UEFA competitions as they fell foul of the home grown criteria … there need is greater than ours (depending of course on the futures of Turnbull Mikey Bain Welsh Jamesie etc)

  • Johnno says:

    This is the conundrum that we face every season James, where no simple answer is available to ourselves.
    Any potential player signed has to looked upon the longer term, more so than the shorter term?
    The major problem we still have upon the bigger picture is the problems this 8 homegrown rule brings with it, for CL football?
    Could shankland be a better and stronger option to help make up the 8 than what we currently have within this seasons CL squad with the 8 required?
    Then the answer has to be yes.
    Yet would he be the answer as a potential back up striker at CL level for ourselves, then I agree with yourself James in saying no?
    Yet we still potentially have a few games to combat during the Asian Cup period to negotiate all the same?
    Hopefully won’t be to much of an issue with the winter break involved, but we have to be prepared for if it should also?
    Possibly Shankland could be the best available option with his knowledge of the league, and could provide a better option that if we should manage to get into the Europa league against all the odds, then certainly would be an upgrade upon the current 8 we have within the squad imo?
    If we are looking at who could potentially provide more for ourselves between shankland and Oh currently?
    Then maybe Oh would shade it just imo,but not definitely either.
    Is the fee that would be involved a decent investment for the money involved?
    Can’t say it would be myself, as putting that fee with a bit extra should allow for ourselves to bring in a far better striker than Oh and shankland combined?
    Like I say, not an easy decision to be making with plus and minus points involved, but this remains the case for any potential players coming into the club currently with only a couple of positions available to be addressed, for now and the future as things stand imo

  • John L says:

    Who’s to say Shankland isn’t the next Scott Mcdonald, I have been thinking about him lately and if he scores a few when the rest are away, then it’s his Jersey to lose.

  • Roonsa says:

    Shankland has HUN written all over him. No thabks.

  • David Condon says:

    2million and Mikey Johnston for Mivosky of Aberdeen. He is a better player than shankland

  • Bhoy4life says:

    Shankland wouldn’t sign for Celtic if Sevco was a choice.
    He scored against them and couldn’t celebrate….tells u everything.

    • Damian says:

      “scored against them” tells you everything.

      “couldn’t celebrate” isn’t relevant.

      His team were 3-0 down in the 81st minute when he scored. If he HAD celebrated all that much, it would tell you an awful lot.

      He didn’t celebrate much when he scored against us either (although the goal was a very good one).

  • Gumbyo says:

    Beerschot weren’t playing Shankland up front. While he does come from a Rangers background he’s a pro who isn’t going to have that be the deciding factor in a career decision.

  • William Hartley says:

    You are a football snob. Because the Bhoy doesn’t have a foreign name. You deem him not good enough. Get a grip. Europe is a bonus which we can’t deal with anyway. So win our own league with him in it. And you will still destroy the rangers on and off the field.

  • Damian says:

    Also need to remember we have Maeda, who can very easily be used as the central striker in place of Kyogo, given that that’s where he tended to play for his previous club. He’s also preferred to Kyogo as a central striker in the Japanese national set up. I’m not 100% sure why that is, but it won’t be because the people making such decisions are idiots.

    If we sign Shankland – or any other player – in this window, it’s should be only because we intend to play him. Signing a player to keep him from a rival is smalltime stuff.

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