Celtic have a list of things they need to do before even considering getting back on level terms next term. Of course, they have just surrendered their grasp on the title and they have no manager after Neil Lennon’s departure.
He walked out of the club two weeks ago and they need a new head coach. They are also searching for a new director of football, someone who could potentially lift the club in the transfer market.
Liam Shaw has agreed to join the club while Kyle Joseph, another hot talent of English football, is reportedly close to signing pre-contract terms too. That being said, there is a more senior name who should be their shortlist for the summer.
That’s according to Colin Watt, one of the regular voices on A Celtic State of Mind podcast. He commented recently: “One that I think people should go and take a look at [is] Paul Onuachu. He’s a Nigerian striker that plays for Genk; he was formerly of FC Midtjylland, and he’s scored almost 100 goals in five seasons, 6ft 7in tall. Roughly, the going price for him is about £7-10m.”
That height is absolutely astonishing but it only reminds us of one figure when talking about Celtic. That happens to be Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.
The famous Dutch striker played for the Hoops between 2006 and 2009, using his colossal frame to outmuscle opponents and score goals.
Standing at 6 foot 3, he is smaller than Onuachu but they are still similar players when it comes to winning aerial duels and being deployed as a target man.
For context, the Genk striker has won 3.7 aerial duels this term in the Belgian Pro League. During his final season in English football with Hull City, Vennegoor of Hesselink won 2.3 but that wasn’t when he was at the peak of his powers.
Onuachu has already been compared to Peter Crouch, a tall striker with similar qualities to Vennegoor of Hesselink.
Celtic blog 67hailhail defined his qualities perfectly in 2019: “Vennegoor of Hesselink’s physicality and aerial ability in attack defined much of his Celtic career, often found bringing players such as Scott McDonald into the game or powering headers home.”
Indeed, that sums up Onuachu well. He uses his frame to batter opponents but if we are looking for one difference, it would be their goal record.
The 26-year-old has scored 26 times in all competitions this term, a stunning tally for someone who appears to be improving his game all the time.
Speaking about Onuachu’s attributes during his days with FC Midtjylland, Alexander Scholz commented: “It’s impossible to beat him because he’s so tall. He is a worker, he has always worked a lot.”
Indeed, that would sum up Vennegoor of Hesselink’s qualities nicely. Like Onuachu, he was a man-mountain, someone that made defenders scared of what he could do when a cross came in.
This transfer, if it happens, may well evoke some nostalgia at Parkhead.