Three strikers Celtic could make a move for in January

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 02: Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates after he scores his second goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Motherwell at Celtic Park on December 2, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

With the news last week that Leigh Griffiths will be out for an extended period of time to deal with off-field problems as Celtic’s striking options are limited to 20-year-old Edouard Odsonne.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he wants two new strikers to bolster his attacking options going into the second half of the season.

The club’s failure to sign a replacement for Moussa Dembele – who signed for French Ligue One side Lyon in the summer for £19.7 million – has placed a huge burden on the shoulders of Edouard who did enough to impress Rodgers to seal a permanent move to Celtic from PSG after starring on loan last season.

The French youth international has scored 13 goals in 29 games in all competitions for Celtic this season but has scored just once in the last eight games with his performances suffering as he is being played out of position and as the lone striker up front.

So who could Celtic sign in the January transfer window to help bolster their attacking options and alleviate some of the burden on Edouard?

PAISLEY, SCOTLAND – JULY 30: Joseph Mbu of Edinburgh City challenges Lawrence Shankland of St Mirren during the BETFRED Cup Group Stage between St Mirren and Edinburgh City at St Mirren Park on July 30, 2016 in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Lawrence Shankland

The Ayr United striker is currently setting the Scottish Championship alight with the Somerset Park side, scoring 28 times in 24 games in all competitions.

While many will argue that Shankland is playing at a lesser level than Celtic should be looking at for new signings, he is less of a gamble than an unproven and potentially overpriced striker from the English game or from further afield with no knowledge of the style of play in Scotland.

Another major plus point is that Shankland is full of confidence and a move to Celtic could see him bring some fresh blood, work rate and energy to a Celtic side that has looked tiresome and laboured in many of their games this season.

Before the start of this season, many Celtic fans believed that Ryan Christie would be heading out of Celtic despite starring for Aberdeen last season. He was deemed to be ‘not good enough’, ‘not Celtic quality’ and ‘not the type of player Celtic need to succeed in Europe’ – yet he has worked his way into the team and become a mainstay of the side.

So if Christie can do it why not Shankland? The standard may be higher in the Premiership than it is in the Championship but Shankland is a natural goalscorer and with the players around him at Celtic and the service provided to him – he could become a perfect addition to the team.

The 23-year-old is certainly not going to be Celtic’s first choice striker, but his signing could at least give Rodgers an option to play two up front or give the Frenchman a rest.

With the likes of Swansea City interested in signing the striker, Ayr United could cash in on him during the January transfer window and a bid of around £400,000 could tempt the Ayrshire side to let their prized asset go – be it to Celtic or the likes of Swansea.

One major hurdle to any potential move is Shankland’s boyhood support of city rivals Rangers, although the likes of Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain – both boyhood Rangers fans – crossed the divide to sign for Celtic and in turn became club legends into the bargain.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 06: Fernando Llorente of Tottenham Hotspur controlls the ball during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and APOEL Nicosia at Wembley Stadium on December 6, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Fernando Llorente

Linked with a move to Celtic in the summer transfer window, the out of favour Spurs striker could potentially move north of the border on loan until the end of the season.

Llorente’s playing time at the London side has been limited with just eight appearances this season for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, scoring just once in the 3-1 League Cup win over West Ham at the end of October.

The Spaniard has already highlighted his desire to quit the Premier League side this coming summer as he is playing second fiddle to English striker Harry Kane.

Having been a regular starter for former clubs Athletic Bilbao, Juventus, Sevilla and Swansea, he is now looking for regular first team football and Celtic could provide the perfect destination for the 33-year-old.

A permanent option may not be possible with the player’s desire to return to Spain and Athletic Bilbao, but if he could be tempted north of the border then all parties involved could benefit immensely.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 25: Jermain Defoe of Bournemouth shoots at goal under pressure from Derrick Williams of Blackburn Rovers during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between AFC Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers at Vitality Stadium on September 25, 2018 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Jermaine Defoe

Another player out of favour is former England international Jermaine Defoe. The former West Ham, Spurs and Sunderland striker is in the twilight of his football career and with just seven games under his belt this season for current club Bournemouth, the 36-year-old will could be tempted north with the attraction of one last hurrah in Europe, the chance of winning silverware and regular first team football.

Just like Llorente, Defoe could be brought on loan until the end of the season and would provide much-needed experience alongside Edouard – who could learn a lot from the veteran striker.

Defoe had been linked with a move to Rangers in the summer, but talks of a permanent deal were rubbished with the striker on around £75,000 a week and the Ibrox side signed Umar Sadiq on loan from Roma – and whose loan spell was cut short this month without hardly kicking a ball.

Celtic will almost certainly have to break their wage to tempt Bournemouth into accepting a loan deal and that is before they even have the chance to speak to Defoe – who may decide that the Scottish league is not his cup of tea.

But with Brendan Rodgers missing an experienced head up front, Defoe could provide not only that killer touch but inspiration and leadership to those around him.

Whatever route Rodgers and the Celtic board decide to go down one thing is clear, the Celtic support will not take kindly to another poor transfer window.

Who would you like to see at Celtic Park in the January transfer window? Where do Celtic need to strengthen?

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