Celtic poised for £2m swoop on Wout Weghorst
Celtic have identified Dutch striker Wout Weghorst as a potential recruit this month as they look to strengthen their attacking options.
Reports in the Netherlands claim the Scottish champions have already made an informal approach for 23-year-old Weghorst who plays for Eredivisie club Heracles.
A former Dutch under-21 international, who started his career with Emmen in his country’s second tier, Weghorst is under contract at Heracles until 2017.
Cardiff City had a bid of around £700,000 for the 6ft 5ins front man rejected last month but the English Championship club are still monitoring his situation.
Heracles chairman Jan Smit, who is currently in Spain with the first-team squad during their winter break training trip, is prepared to sell Weghorst but is seeking a fee closer to £2 million.
Celtic’s desire to recruit a new striker is a reflection of Nadir Ciftci’s failure to make a significant impact at the club following his £1.5m move from Dundee United last summer.
The Turkish striker has scored just four goals in 22 appearances so far, leaving Ronny Deila’s side heavily reliant on the prolific Leigh Griffiths who netted his 20th goal of the campaign on his return from injury at the weekend.
Former United coach Darren Jackson believes Ciftci is still suffering from the six-match domestic suspension he had to serve at the start of the season after biting Dundee player Jim McAlister on the leg in his last appearance for the Tannadice club.
“It didn’t help him that he was in for a European game, back out of the team because of the ban, then back in and out again,” said Jackson.
“People also look at him and think he’s much older and more experienced than he actually is.
“He’s only 23, two years younger than Leigh, and had a bit of a hard time in his career before joining United.
“He felt great at United, he could go out and play and enjoy it. Then he moved to Celtic and the expectations go through the roof. But I don’t think the stop-start nature of things earlier in the season helped him.
“Ronny Deila only plays with one up front and for now it is always going to be Leigh Griffiths. I was lucky enough to be Leigh’s agent earlier in his career and knew from day one how good he was. It doesn’t matter how Nadir plays at the moment, Leigh will always be picked ahead of him because he is dynamite right now.
“That’s the double dunt for Nadir – he can’t get in because Leigh is scoring goals and when he does get in, he’s not scoring himself. When he got a double against St Johnstone last month, I texted him to say I hoped it was the break he needed at Celtic. He will get judged on his scoring record at the end of the day but he scored 17 for us at United last season and I’m sure he will score goals wherever he plays if he gets the chance.”