WITH Nadir Ciftci set to complete his move to Celtic after turning down a deal with Wigan Athletic, the Hoops are bolstering their strikeforce with one of the most exciting forwards in the Scottish Premiership.
Still young with a bit of a rawness, Ciftci can be a menace up front and a handful for opposition defences. Yet his imminent transfer to Celtic hasn’t been met with quite the same fanfare from the club’s fans as greeted the signings of Ciftci’s former Tannadice team-mates Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven.
Here are six reasons the Turkish striker can be a hit at Celtic Park:
1. He’s still young
STILL only 23, Ciftci has plenty of time to develop at Celtic - and given the club’s tendency to sign players at a young age, hone their skills and then sell them on for a profit, the former Breda striker could still get a tilt at the upper echelons of the English leagues.
The likes of Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama, Adam Matthews and Fraser Forster were all signed at a relatively young age, developed, and sold on for a significant profit - and all to clubs competing in the English Premier League at the time of the transfer.
Ciftci certainly has the talent, and a few years at Celtic could be his ticket to the English Premier League.
2. He’s consistent
DESPITE being signed as a winger by Jackie McNamara, Ciftci has become an out-and-out striker, with a decent goals-to-games ratio.
His longest spell without a goal last season was six matches towards the end of the campaign, when Dundee United’s form dipped - and even then, he finished the season with a brace in the 3-0 derby win over Dundee.
In his first season on Tayside, his longest barren spell was seven matches, during which United won five, drew one (with Celtic) and lost one.
In his 82 appearances for Dundee United, he scored 33 goals, and also laid on a fair few chances for his team-mates. So it’s safe to say that, even if he’s not getting on the scoresheet himself, Ciftci can still influence games and lead the line to great effect.
3. Ronny Deila’s influence
MUCH was made of Ronny Deila’s crackdown on fizzy drinks and chips shortly after his arrival in Glasgow, but on a more serious note, Deila’s work with Leigh Griffiths - heavily linked with a move away from Celtic in the early part of last season such was his apparent distance from first-team action - shows what a bit of hard work can do.
Griffiths finished the season having displaced Guidetti as the first-choice striker, bagging 20 goals in 41 appearances and winning plaudits for his performances.
Ciftci has a bit of a history of controversies - Deila could be just the man to iron out his creases and turn him into a first-rate striker.
4. He’s versatile
PREDOMINANTLY a striker, Ciftci can also play on either wing, which would work to his advantage in Ronny Deila’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. Leigh Griffiths is also capable of playing out wide, and with Gary Mackay-Steven, James Forrest and the attack-minded Saidy Janko also available to play on the flanks, Celtic could have a formidable attack next season.
5. He’ll score goals
THE sort of player able to conjure a goal out of nothing, Ciftci introduced himself to the Dundee United support by beating two men and arrowing the ball into the back of the net from 20 yards out, in a pre-season friendly against Wigan.
Happy scoring long-range worldies or just prodding the ball in from close-range, Ciftci will get plenty of goalscoring opportunities at Celtic.
6. His team-mates
NOT only will Ciftci link up with former Tannadice team-mates Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong, the influence of several internationals - including Scott Brown and Stefan Johansen - will also help his all-round game.
Ciftci had a tendency to drift out of some games while at Dundee United, but that will be stamped out at Celtic - especially with the upcoming European matches.