What is it with this club being linked to Celtic players? I recall doing a piece on The Bhoys' promising youngster Victor Wanyama last year, and only recently were Newcastle allegedly on the prowl for their centre back Kelvin Wilson.
Adding to this supposed Scotland fetish is striker Gary Hooper, who has enjoyed a fine season for the Glasgow-based side who look set to secure an unsurprising domestic double.
The 25 year old has netted 28 goals in all competitions in the 2012/13 campaign, including four in a historic Champions League run for his club. The front man clearly has a knack of hitting the jackpot.
Despite maturing into a key figure for Celtic since joining from Scunthorpe United, his future north of the border is very much in the balance. It has been rumoured that Hooper has refused to commit his future in the SPL, signalling alarm bells for various Premier League sides. Some of you may recall Norwich City making countless bids for the striker in the January transfer window, which, though were all unsuccessful, would have certainly left the thought of the English top tier lingering in Hooper’s mind.
No doubt, the goal return he has accumulated for his current club is excellent. But, as I usually do, the standard of the league he’s playing in must be scrutinised. Following Rangers’ revival in the Scottish Third Division, many on social media sites were quick to crack the “Celtic FC – 2013 Scottish Champions” joke before the league had even started. Though an undeniable dose of verbal slapstick, it does go some way to telling you that the SPL is a bit….well, crap.
With that in mind, we must be cautious when looking at figures on a screen. 79 goals in 133 games. That’s all well and good in the Premier League, the Bundesliga, or La Liga, but how can we interpret whether he’d make the grade following such a huge step-up in standards?
One thing’s for sure, I’d disapprove if the Magpies adopted a Norwich City stance, who seemed to keep clumsily augmenting their price all the way up to £7m+. I can assure you, a club with such high levels of scouting can do better with that kind of money. Perhaps this is all very ambiguous of me, but it’s early doors.
If he’s willing, available on a decent price, and Carr-approved, then a bid should be welcomed. For now, as we often must do at this stage of the season, we must wait to see how things pan out.