Celtic have been linked with Orlando City and Canada striker Cyle Larin.
Here’s everything fans need to know about the 21-year-old.
He’s a wanted man
Celtic will face some stiff competition to land Larin. The Orlando City hitman is said to be wanted by, but not limited to, Lech Poznan, PSV, Corinthians and Benfica. There’s also the small matter of the fee, which will likely be inflated due to the pound’s weak standing against the dollar. Conservative estimates have put it around $5million (£4m), while there’s talk he could become the most expensive MLS player, which would top Jozi Altidore’s $8million fee (close to £6.5million) from Villarreal back in 2008.
One thing Celtic and other European clubs will have in their favour is Larin’s contract, which expires at the end of the 2017 season, roughly a year from now. Seeing as he’s only on £2k a week at present, he may be tempted by the promise of riches from abroad and could force Orlando’s hand.
He just received a nomination for Canadian player of the year
Larin received news of his nomination on Tuesday, the same day Celtic were linked with his transfer. He’s already represented Canada 19 times and netted five goals, four of which came in their World Cup qualification campaign as the nation failed to advance past the fourth round group stage, coming third behind Mexico and Honduras. If Larin can fulfil his potential and become a star in Europe, there’s hope that he’ll one day become the talisman Canada so desperately need as they look to qualify for their first World Cup since 1986.
He set a rookie record in 2015 with 17 goals
The striker was praised for the ease in which he adapted to the MLS in his rookie season, netting 17 goals and romping away with the Rookie of the Year award after being picked No.1 overall in the Superdraft. Though he didn’t quite manage to match his goals tally from the debut season, he still found the back of the net 15 times last term and was recently named the league’s best player under the age of 24. What’s particularly impressive is that his goal stats are not padded by penalty kicks, as he doesn’t take them for Orlando.
He’s more Dembele than Griffiths
Larin’s strongest qualities are his height, strength, shooting technique, and ability to sniff out a chance around the penalty area. He’s especially dangerous getting on to the end of cross balls and isn’t afraid to shoot from distance. Though he’s not particularly quick, he does have a decent amount of pace once he gets going and he’s working on improving his all-round game. It’s hard to imagine him partnering Dembele the way Griffiths does on occasion, and would likely be a long-term replacement for the young Frenchman, who’s been linked with just about every big club in Europe after his exploits in a hooped shirt this campaign.