One of the things you hope for when a player leaves for a richer league is that they perform well. It reflects on whatever value you will get the next time someone leaves. Joe Ledley has gotten off to a flier with Crystal Palace, although there is still a long way to go there, but our two big summer sales are finding it tough.
Gary Hooper hadn’t scored in his last nine starts for Norwich. His season tally stands at five league goals and two assists, which is still four goals more than Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who cost more than twice Hooper’s price but has scored only once in the league. Norwich other two strikers have yet to get off the blocks.
Bizarrely, Norwich are flooded with expensive strikers but their fans will bemoan the fact that they don’t have a goal-scorer, which Hooper was at Celtic and van Wolfswinkel was at Utrecht, where he scored a hat-trick against Celtic, and at Sporting. There is a good chance they will be relegated as a consequence, which will probably have them back on the hunt for a Leigh Griffiths-type striker.
Gary had his dips in form at Celtic, which included a meagre last four months of his final season, Cup Final apart, but Victor Wanyama is one of the best central midfielders we have seen at Celtic in a considerable time. He was a solid performer for Southampton before injury side-lined him for two months. Now back, he has a seat alongside Jos Hooiveld on the bench, due to the form of Jack Cork, one of Southampton’s many current stars.
Hooper and Wanyama were among the stars of the Celtic team last season but I suspect their new clubs’ fans are wondering what all the fuss is about. Form is fickle. It’s hard to tell when a career is about to turn all Liam Miller on a bright young prospect (and let’s be honest, Miller was every bit as lauded here as Hooper or Wanyama), or what consequences the new club, the move, or other distractions are having on performance.
There are also a couple of ex-Celtic goalkeepers doing a star turn in the FA Premier League, David Marshall at Cardiff and Artur Boruc at Southampon. After dazzling in his early months Marshall sipped well down the pecking order at Celtic, who eventually offloaded him. He was replaced as first choice by Boruc, who could claim to be the top rated keeper in Europe 8 years ago but completely lost ‘it’, before finding it again, recently.
My prediction is that Hooper, Wanyama, Balde, Boerrigter and Pukki will not fulfil their potential at their current clubs, although I considered Wanyama’s place on the list for a while. This does not make them bad players, ‘it’ just doesn’t always happen when it should. By contrast, some players look born to play for Celtic, including Kris Commons, who does not fit the profile of top-flight English clubs but is a rare gem in the Champions League for Celtic.
Really enjoyed reading the questions to and comments about Tommy Gemmell yesterday, as did Tommy, who spent the afternoon reading CQN and was “delighted” at the response. He’s not got a login yet but we’ll get him sorted and do a live event on the blog after we have the book out of the way.
I’m attending a meeting next Wednesday with Supporters’ Liaison Officer, John Paul Taylor. Let me know if there are any questions you’d like raised.
If you would like to read the new CQN Magazine, GO HERE to read properly, and for FREE, the graphic below is just a taster.
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