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Celtic could forget about Giakoumakis by signing Thiago Santana

The major talking point surrounding Celtic at present is the future of striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, with the Greek international looking set to depart Parkhead amid mounting interest in his signature.

Reports had emerged at the tail-end of last year that the 28-year-old was ‘unhappy‘ at the failure to agree a wage increase with the Old Firm outfit, with that impasse in negotiations sparking suggestions that he could be tempted to move elsewhere in January.

With speculation continuing to rumble on in recent weeks, journalist Fabrizio Romano confirmed on Monday that the Hoops had “reached an agreement” with Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds for the former VVV-Venlo man for a fee of around 4m (£3.5m), albeit with MLS side Atlanta United also still in the frame for his signature.

That would suggest that an exit is now imminent for the 6 foot 1 powerhouse, with the Glasgow side now tasked with seeking to replace a player who has scored 26 goals in 57 games for the club to date and finished as the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer last season with 13 goals.

Having to try and fill the void of arguably the club’s ‘best finisher‘ – as lauded by former Celtic Park hero Chris Sutton – will undoubtedly prove difficult, with manager Ange Postecoglou unlikely to want to rely solely on Kyogo Furuhashi to lead the attack for the remainder of the campaign.

Should Celtic allow Giakoumakis to leave?

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That being said, the title-winning coach could well ensure that Giakoumakis becomes something of a distant memory if he is able to land another prolific presence in the coming weeks, with reports in Japan – via the Daily Record – have suggested that Shimizu S Pulse striker Thiago Santana is a player of interest for the Scottish champions.

The 29-year-old marksman could well follow in the footsteps of the likes of Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Kyogo in making the move to Scotland from the J-League, having established himself as a player of undoubted pedigree after finishing as the division’s top scorer in the most recent campaign with a tally of 14 goals.

The “impressive” Brazilian – as previously described by journalist Vinicius Moura – had racked up a total tally of 16 goals and seven assists in 32 games across all fronts in 2022, having proven himself both a goalscorer and creator when leading the line.

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That ability to both tee up others and get on the scoresheet himself – as evidenced by his tally of 30 goals and nine assists in 72 games for his current side – could well set the former Santa Clara man apart from Giakoumakis, with the latter man having only registered two assists during his time in Scottish football thus far.

That creativity was also on show last season as Santana created ten big chances and averaged 1.3 key passes per game from his 27 league outings, while so far this term the current Celtic man has only created one big chance and averaged just 0.5 key passes per game, albeit while starting only four games.

With Santana also able to somewhat match Giakoumakis’ physical attributes, as he stands at 6 foot 1/2, it should ensure that the Shimizu talisman offers an ideal replacement – or even potential upgrade – on the wantaway asset for Postecoglou and co.