Leicester City’s Ace to Celtic transfer touted but Chris Sutton delivers major caveat

The former Hoops striker thinks the Zambian would ‘fit the bill’ at Parkhead

Chris Sutton reckons Leciester City outcast Patson Daka could be a great transfer option for Celtic but claims his old club wouldn’t be able to afford the striker.

The Zambian was a prolific marksman for RB Salzburg and that earned him a move to the Premier League a couple of years ago. Brendan Rodgers was the man who signed Daka for Leicester and was able to conjure up 16 goal contributions in 53 Premier League games under the Northern Irishman. But since Rodgers was axed by the Foxes and the club was relegated to the Championship, Daka has hardly had a kick under Enzo Maresca.

And for that reason, Sutton believes the 25-year-old would ‘fit the bill’ for Celtic in January, with Kyogo and Oh set to absent for a spell due to their respective involvements in the Asian Cup. Writing in his Daily Record column, Sutton was lamenting the fact that the Hoops are unable to sign seasoned professionals from the English top-flight anymore for financial reasons, even though he reserved praise for Celtic’s ‘buy cheap, sell for profit’ policy.

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Signing Daka would be an exception to that policy and Sutton says even though Celtic have plenty of cash in the bank and as much as he would like to see the Zambian play for the Hoops, a deal would be impossible to strike unless it was just a loan.

Sutton wrote: “I’m sure Celtic fans will be glad to hear the manager wants to recruit proven, experienced players who will improve the starting line up. Doing it is another matter though.

“It’s also a slight change in message. In the summer it was all about the model, signing players with potential, getting them young and relatively cheaply with a view to polishing them up and eventually moving them on for bog money. You’ve got to say it’s a policy that has worked spectacularly well for Celtic in recent years.

“There is the European angle of course, and their struggles at that level, but on the home front, Celtic have been utterly dominant while managing to sell for massive profits. In that respect you’ve got to say they’ve got the balance right. The days of signing players in their prime from the English Premier League are long gone.

“The likes of myself, Alan Thompson, Neil Lennon and John Hartson were all mid to late 20s when we arrived at Celtic but to try to sign an EPL regular these days would set you back about £40m for starters. And it’s still no guarantee they’d be any good.

“A lot is made about Celtic having £70m in the bank. There are plenty of English clubs who’ve blown that on one or two duds.

“It’s extremely difficult for my old club. I look at someone like Patson Daka who is not getting much of a game at Leicester City in the Championship.

“He scored shed loads at Red Bull Salzburg and would more than fit the bill. But there’s no way Celtic could afford him, unless it was a loan deal with Leicester being charitable with the wage split.

“They have to operate in a different market – and that’s where it becomes tough for Rodgers. He’s maybe made a rod for his own back by taking responsibility but it’s definitely a challenge he’s laid down to the board.

“Rodgers wants ‘quality’, but doesn’t every manager? I’d like to see how he does it. In the summer the talk was about signing more prospects when they needed upgrades.

“But sometimes they are one and the same. Matt O’Riley arrived as a prospect for just £1.5m. Two years on and you wouldn’t accept 10 times that amount to sell him.

“And as for proven players with experience? That’s no guarantee either. Marvin Compper had plenty of experience in the Bundesliga but sunk at Celtic Park.

“On the other side of the coin, Lubo Moravcik was slated when he was brought in and he turned out to be a masterstroke. It’s not always about pure spending – Odsonne Edouard was a £9m development player, but that worked out a shrewd buy as well.

“The problem is not signing prospects – it’s about signing the right prospects. A lot is made of the ones who didn’t make it but there are plenty who have.”

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