Newcastle join Liverpool in chase for Celtic’s in-form English striker
Gary Hooper linked with January move after contract talks break down
Celtic’s red-hot forward Gary Hooper is reportedly ready to leave the Glasgow club in January and move to the Premier League.
Both Liverpool and Newcastle are credited with an interest in Hooper, who has scored eight goals in 14 appearances for the SPL leaders this season.
The 24-year-old, who scored all four of Celtic’s goals last month in a League Cup tie against Raith, is far from agreeing a new deal at his current club with just 18 months to go on his contract.
And this has alerted both Brendan Rodgers and Alan Pardew to the availability of Hooper, who moved to the Scottish giants for £2m from Scunthorpe United.
The Reds are desperately short of strikers following Andy Carroll’s loan switch to West Ham and Italian forward Fabio Borini’s recent foot injury.
Luis Suarez has shouldered the goalscoring responsibility admirably so far this season, firing five of the Anfield club’s nine league strikes.
However the Uruguayan will need some help lifting Liverpool up the table in the coming months, and he cut a frustrated figure during the side’s 0-0 home draw with Stoke.
Perhaps the former Swansea boss will look to bring back Carroll in January when he can exercise his recall clause, but with the burly Geordie not fitting into Rodgers’ style a move for another striker may be on the cards.
Newcastle are also thought to be in the market for a striker to bolster Alan Pardew’s increasingly injury-shorn squad.
Demba Ba has been in fine goalscoring form this campaign, plundering six league goals from seven games to lead the Premier League top scorers table.
But with Ba reportedly considering a move himself, and Papiss Cisse surprisingly quiet this season, Pardew may move swiftly for Celtic frontman Hooper.
Cisse has been scored just twice in ten games after making a blistering start to his Magpies career in the second half of last term where he averaged just short of a goal a game.
It seems with the Senegalese duo that when one is scoring the other is off-form, with Ba currently in the ascendancy after taking a backseat to Cisse’s exploits.
With just the ageing Shola Ameobi and troubled Nile Ranger in reserve, Pardew may believe he needs another striker to continue Newcastle’s domestic and continental charge.
Hooper is a calm and composed finisher, and has been tipped for full England honours by Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.