NEIL Lennon believes Celtic may have to “push the boat out” financially if they are to recruit a striker capable of making a significant difference to their Champions League fortunes.
Celtic slipped to the bottom of Group H on Wednesday night with their 1-0 defeat by Ajax in Amsterdam. They have scored just two goals in their four group games so far, neither of them contributed by their strikers.
The Scottish champions sold leading scorer Gary Hooper to Norwich City for £5 million in the summer and spent a total of £4.7m on Portuguese forward Amido Balde and Finnish international striker Teemu Pukki. But along with the established duo of Georgios Samaras and Anthony Stokes, they have struggled to compensate for the loss of the prolific Hooper so far this season.
Lennon insists he is content with the transfer policy of the Celtic board and the wage structure which chief executive Peter Lawwell has put in place. But he feels an exception may have to be made in the search for a reliable top-level goalscorer. “That is where the big bucks are,” he said. “That is where players cost money. If we do break the wage structure, it will not be by a great deal. But if we are trying to bring that type of player in, we might have to push the boat out a little. But we do not want to push it out too much. We are realistic with our wage structure.
“There may be money available in January. I don’t know how much, but Peter has given us an assurance there will be money to spend. We did try to bring players in the summer but some options proved fruitless. Some players were way too expensive. Some chose not to come here.
“I have four strikers I want to persevere with and I will work with them to improve the goal ratio. We will shop around in January and try to be inventive. It is not just centre-forwards, there are other areas we want to improve on.”