Celtic have made their first signing of the January transfer window with the loan deal for West Brom’s Oliver Burke, but with Celtic fans crying out for permanent signings up front and in defence will the Scotland International help Celtic get back on track?
We spoke to Alex Newton, editor of Read West Brom, to get the lowdown on the former Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig winger and what he could bring to Celtic.
Alex believes that if Brendan Rodgers can help Burke focus on his game more then both Celtic and West Brom could reap the rewards, however, if the winger does not hit the ground running at Parkhead it could be time up at the Hawthorns.
Burke signed for West Brom in August 2017 with a price tag of £15m – many north of the border had high hopes for him, what was the feeling like among Baggies fans when he was signed?
AN: There are no two ways about it we were buzzing with the signing. We’d been crying out for not only a natural winger but a real chunk of money to be spent on a star player. After an average time in Germany, we really thought he could hit to ground running and become an Albion superstar.
He has only made 21 appearances since signing for West Brom last season, what do you think is behind his failure to break into the first team regularly?
AN: Burke’s a real strange one, he’s played under four managers at his time at The Hawthorns, and he’s never been a regular for any of them. There have been a few unconfirmed reports about a poor attitude in training from Burke which will obviously knock him down the pecking order.
Are you surprised that Burke has gone out on loan? Or is the surprise more in regards to his destination being Celtic rather than another Championship side?
AN: The loan doesn’t come as a surprise. I don’t think Albion are ready to cash in on him yet, but he’s never going to be given the chance to make an impact at the Hawthorns. Celtic is a little surprising as many of your fans feel you’re well covered in that area. Albion would never let him go to a Championship rival, so Celtic makes sense because of that.
Do you think that Burke will hit the ground running at Celtic? What will he bring to the Celtic side?
AN: There’s no reason why he can’t have an immediate impact. Your [Celtic] season hasn’t gone perfectly so far but Burke could be the player to get you back on track. He’s versatile, having the ability to play up front or on either wing.
He’s the quickest player I’ve ever seen at the Baggies’. He has bags of raw pace, and there’s obviously a good player there. It’s just getting him focused enough to use his talents.
West Brom has already stated that there is no option to buy at the end of this loan deal – do you think Burke’s time at West Brom is up or do you think a spell out on loan with regular first team football will help his development ahead of next season?
AN: If he has a successful loan spell at Celtic I can see him being used again by Albion. If he ends up being a bit-part player I reckon we’ll cut our losses and look to move him on in the summer.
That being said I really hope it works for Burke at Celtic and we see the best of him.