Celtic boss open to return of Norwich City striker Gary Hooper
16:19 07 May 2014
Could Norwich City striker Gary Hooper be on his way back to Celtic?
Bhoys boss Neil Lennon appear to be a little more than interested - and it could be a sign of things to come over the next few months as the vultures cast their eyes over Norwich City’s squad.
Few City players have risen above the mediocre this season, but there will be no shortage of interest in those who might be considered ‘able to do a job’ for another club.
Hooper has started 22 Premier League games, made nine sub appearances and scored six goals – and while that is hardly sufficient to have the country’s top clubs fighting for his signature, Celtic might just prove to be an attractive proposition.
Lennon sold Hooper to Norwich last summer for £5.5m – and therein lies the stumbling block. If City did sell, they would want to recoup as much of that as possible, and Celtic might not be able to make the asking price,
Lennon’s priority signing is clear: “Centre-forward,” he said.
“Everyone is looking for one of them.
“I’d imagine the Hooper thing would rumble on but whether we could tempt him back or not I don’t know. I don’t like talking about a player who’s under contract at another club. But we think very highly of Gary, put it that way.
“Whether we could do a deal he or the club would entertain, I don’t know. It would be nice to have him back, but I think we’ll be a long way off that I’d imagine.”
There will clearly be those among City’s squad who see themselves capable of performing at a higher standard in the top flight: goalkeeper John Ruddy is perhaps the best example. City resisted attempts by Chelsea to sign him – were they, or another big club, to come back again this summer, they might find it more difficult to keep hold of the England stopper.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel has been a major disappointment, having not scored since his debut on the opening day, and both he and the club may decide his future is elsewhere.
Andrew Surman is the highest profile player out on loan – he spent the season in the Championship with Bournemouth – and will need a question answered on his future.
Whoever takes over the hot-seat at Carrow Road needs to do a rebuilding job – but first he needs to know who stays and who goes.