Celtic target Amido Balde in Gary Hooper pledge

Amido Balde tries to score past Benfica goaklkeeper Artur Moraes on Sunday's Portugese Cup final, which Vitoria Guimaraes won 2-1. Picture: Getty
Amido Balde tries to score past Benfica goaklkeeper Artur Moraes on Sunday's Portugese Cup final, which Vitoria Guimaraes won 2-1. Picture: Getty
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Portugese striker Amido Balde has said that Celtic fans will forget about Gary Hooper if Neil Lennon opts to recruit the Vitoria Guimaraes forward.

• Amido Balde claims he has “more ability” than Celtic strikers

• Balde says fans won’t miss Gary Hooper if he is signed by Lennon

The 22-year-old has also revealed his ambition to become the best striker in Scotland if he signs for the SPL champions, while also claiming that he has “more ability” than any goalscorer currently on the Parkhead payroll.

Balde, who has one more year left on his Guimaraes contract, is being tracked by Newcastle and Sevilla. But the Portugese hitman has expressed his desire for a move to Scotland, with the promise of Champions League football a factor.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Balde said: “I know Celtic have been in contact with my agent because they are going to lose their main striker - but I have more ability than any striker at Celtic.

“If a deal is reached where I end up playing for Celtic, the fans will be asking themselves after just a few games, ‘Gary who?’

“I think I could go on and be the best striker in Scotland - and one of the best in Europe. Celtic will obviously be playing in Europe again nexrt season and that’s a big thing for me.

“I know they have been watching me for some time - with teams in England and Spain as well - but the important thing to me is that I sign for a team who are playing Champions League football because that is the level I believe I should be playing at.

Praise

Former Belgian international Bobby Peeters has said that Balde would be well-suited to the rough-and-tumble of the SPL, and said he was in the same mould as Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku.

Peeters, who spent two years playing in England with Millwall, said: “Amido Balde would suit the British game more than the Portugese. In Portugal they want to play short, combination football and in Scotland and England they can play a long ball.

“If you’re strong and pacey you can be a good striker in that environment. In my opinion it’s a bit like Romelu Lukaku who isn’t the best technical player but he’s very strong and fast and that’s the same with Amido Balde.”

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