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Newcastle United were linked with a summer move for Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths but the move did not go through. Now, with the January window coming up, this could be an ideal time for the Magpies to revisit their plan of purchasing the €2.5m rated Griffiths. He seemed like an ideal option for them back then, and he continues to be a strong candidate at present.
Rafa Benitez knew he needed a striker in the summer transfer window, but he only had a limited budget and the move for Griffiths fell through. Subsequently, Benitez signed Joselu but then the former Stoke City player hasn’t lived up to his billing so far. He is a part of Newcastle’s first team but he is yet to establish himself as a lethal goal-scoring machine up front.
In fact, the Spaniard has just two goals to his name for the Magpies so far, and it seems like Griffiths would have been a better option. The player has already found the back of the net 8 times for Celtic this season, while also chipping in with 8 assists.
Celtic, who currently play with a ‘one striker formation’, where Moussa Dembele is preferred up front, they could be tempted to sell him in January. Griffiths has been struggling for game time due to the competition with Moussa Dembele. When Dembele was ruled out towards the end of last season, Griffiths returned to the side and played a key role as Celtic completed the domestic season unbeaten to win the treble, scoring 18 goals in 35 games across all competitions.
His performances might fill Benitez with regret for having not pushed harder in the summer window but he will receive another chance to secure his signature in January.
Having said that, there is always a lot of debate about players doing well in Scotland but failing to live up to that potential in England. Interestingly, Leigh Griffiths himself moved from Dundee to Wolves back in 2011 and couldn’t get a single game. After an unsuccessful spell, he went back on loan to Scottish Premier League club Hibernian for two years, following which he went back to Wolves and played regular football even though they were in League One.
The club sold him to Celtic then, and he continues to improve there. He is dangerous up front and scores goals as and when he wants to. Although Griffiths would be playing at a much higher level if he were to move to England, his brilliant work-rate and clinical finishing will certainly help him gel well with the club. Thus, if Benitez does pursue Griffiths in January, Newcastle could be looking at an upgrade in terms of their options up front.