One major issue for Celtic at present is the uncertainty surrounding the future of striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, with talks believed to have stalled regarding a new contract for the Greek international.
The 27-year-old is reportedly ‘unhappy‘ at the Old Firm outfit’s current offer of a wage increase and has thus far been unable to agree fresh terms, with that fact putting into doubt his place at the club heading into the January transfer window.
While the former VVV-Venlo man still has three-and-a-half years left to run on his existing deal in Glasgow, the suggestion is an exit in the New Year is a very real possibility, with both manager Ange Postecoglou and head of recruitment Mark Lawwell believed to be eyeing a new striking addition.
Despite Giakoumakis having been unable to nail down a regular role in the side since his £2.5m arrival last summer – making just 22 starts in that time – the 11-cap marksman has certainly still made an impact, with 25 goals in 50 games across all fronts to date.
Not only a proven goalscorer – having also netted 26 times in the Eredivisie during the 2020/21 campaign prior to his move to Scotland – the £12k-per-week man also offers a different option in attack due to his size and strength, with the 6 foot 1 brute having been lauded for his hold-up play by pundit Chris Sutton, who recently stated:
‘He gives Celtic a focal point to hit in games when they are under pressure. A physical presence they can find if needed. Basically, a different option to Kyogo who is more about playing off the shoulder and running in behind.’
To lose that alternative option in attack would no doubt be a notable setback as far as the Scottish champions are concerned, although Sutton suggested that Postecoglou may well have ‘an ace up his sleeve‘ in the form of a replacement.
A potential heir to Giakoumakis at Celtic Park could well be found with the signing of Sunderland talisman, Ross Stewart, with the Scotland international having been linked with a move to the club of late.
The suggestion is that the 26-year-old could be allowed to leave in the winter window as he ebbs towards the expiry of his contract at the Stadium of Light, with the former Ross County man having turned down the offer of a bumper new deal.
The two-cap menace would seemingly be an ideal solution for both Lawwell and Postecoglou due to his lethal goalscoring record of late, having scored 34 goals in just 72 games for the Championship side since his arrival in England back in January 2021.
The Irvine-born ace – who previously scored 28 times in 82 games during his time in Dingwall – also mirrors Giakoumakis as a result of his imposing presence when leading the line, with the 6 foot 2 predator having been praised by teammate Alex Pritchard for his quality with and without the ball:
“[Stewart] is unbelievable. The size of him, on the ball, he can run, he can hold the ball up, he’s good with his feet. He’s got everything. He’s great in the air. Holds the ball up and he gets in behind”.
Also praised for his “exceptional” work rate by compatriot James McFadden, Stewart – who has 79 club career goals to his name to date – would no doubt bring more to the table than just simply putting the ball in the back of the net, much like Giakoumakis.
Should the latter man depart next month, then the aforementioned Lawwell would certainly be wise to secure the Black Cats ace as his replacement.