Hull hoping Hooper proves more Jelavic than Miller
Free-scoring SPL strikers have chequered history when making Premier League moves
Hull City have edged ahead in the race to sign Celtic’s Gary Hooper after the Parkhead club reportedly moved to reopen negotiations in recent days. With the former Grays Athletic striker entering the last 12 months of his contract, his current employers’ stance upon the £7m price-tag that initially forced the Tigers to begin considering other options looks to have softened.
The Bhoys’ hitman is looking ever more likely to make the move south of the border, but that road has not always been paved with glory for those heading the same way in the past
The history of the SPL has been littered with strikers who take the opportunity to dramatically swell their goals-per-game tallies during sojourns in the land of Burns and battered Mars bars.
Some of them – Henrik Larsson, Pierre Van Hooijdonk, Nikica Jelavic – went on to prove themselves adept gunslingers at a higher level, but others such as Marco Negri, Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller have done little to quell suspicions that goals come that little bit cheaper in Scotland.
All but one of those strikers went on to play in England, but only Larsson could have been said to have contributed with aplomb in the Premier League.
Miller and Van Hooijdonk found goals easy to come by in the English second tier for Wolves and Nottingham Forest respectively, but both – for varying reasons – couldn’t replicate their SPL form in the English top flight.
A record of 31 goals in 50 games this term – with his 19 SPL strikes coming in 30 starts – suggests that Hooper clearly knows where the back of the net is, but given his league strikes have come for the SPL overlords in an era when their chief rivals have been busted down to the third division, he can hardly said to have been piercing top class defences week-in-week-out.
Just one goal and no assists in six Champions League group stage games offers a stark counterpoint to the previous raft of statistics.
Celtic were undoubtedly underdogs playing against better sides in that competition, but that’s exactly what Hull will be as they embark upon their first season in the Premier League since 2010. As a result it’s hard to see Hooper setting the scoring charts ablaze if making a move to the Premier League.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.