Celtic are reportedly hoping to bring in Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy for a second stint at Parkhead. Bellamy played on loan at Celtic Park in 2005, winning a Scottish Cup winners medal and scoring nine goals in 15 games.
However six years on, Bellamy is not the player that he once was and Celtic should give him a wide berth, and rather focus their attentions on England international Jay Bothroyd, who despite his wage demands, would have a greater impact for Celtic than a 31-year-old striker that is injury prone.
Both Bellamy and Boothroyd played at Cardiff City last season, however it was Bothroyd who was the better of the two on the park for the Welsh side with a goals to games ratio of 1:2.1, while the Welshman could only manage a ratio of 1:3.3.
Bellamy's ratio at Celtic back in 2005, was impressive as he scored a goal every 1.6 games. And it was that form at Celtic and previously at Newcastle that earned him a £5 million move to Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2005, before he made moves to Liverpool (£6 million), West Ham (£7.5 million) and then a £14 million move to Manchester City in January 2009. However he has been deemed surplus by Man City manager Roberto Mancini and was farmed out on loan to Cardiff City last season.
Despite still being out of favour at City, the Eastland's club would want to recoup some of the £14 million they paid West Ham for him in 2009. But Celtic would only consider Bellamy for knockdown price of around £3 million or more favourably on a season-long loan deal. However the major issue standing in the way of Bellamy travelling up to Glasgow is the financial package on offer at Parkhead.
City currently pay the Welshman £90,000 a week and there is no way that Celtic could afford that amount of money, especially for a 31-year-old striker. The Parkhead side would also struggle to meet half of that, and Celtic could use the money they would pay out for Bellamy on several players that could bring more to the club than the Welshman, both in terms of on the park and sell on value.
That is why I believe that Celtic should ditch any bid to sign Bellamy, whether permanently or on loan, and aim their focus solely on Jay Bothroyd.
The major advantage in going for Bothroyd is that he is out of contract, after leaving Cardiff City at the end of last season. It would save Celtic a transfer fee, and could pull their resources towards paying his wage bill which would also be significantly higher than anything Celtic currently pay their players. But he would be worth it, as he would still have a significant market value even after three years at Celtic Park.
The 29 year old striker won his first England cap in November 2010, in the 2-1 friendly defeat to France coming on as a second half substitute. Being an England international, albeit after just one game, he would command a higher wage than normal.
However Celtic face significant competition from a host of English Premier League clubs, including Everton, West Brom and newly promoted QPR. But according to Bothroyd's agent, Sky Andrew, a decision will be made in the next week or so.
Andrew said: “I think that he’ll be making a decision imminently on where he goes. For someone like him that’s out of contract he wants to get in for pre-season and get himself ready for the new season. He wants to play at the highest level.”
Celtic would only get one full season out of Bellamy, and given his wage demands and a transfer fee or loan deal, he would not be value for money and he is too close to the style of striker that Gary Hooper is. Bothroyd, however, would be a free transfer and would command less wages than Bellamy. Celtic would also get several years of service out of the Englishman and could ultimately cash in on him in two years or so for a tidy profit.
Bellamy is not the man for Celtic, it is a sentimental move bringing back a player who was at Celtic Park six years ago, and he would have no re-sale value in a couple of years. Bothroyd is where the smart money should be, both as a player and as a commodity further down the line.
Celtic MUST grab the bull by the horns and capture Bothroyd before they lose out on him, rather than focusing on someone who is not right for Celtic in Season 2011-2012.
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