Why free agent Jerry Mbakogu could be worth a gamble for Celtic
Scottish champions Celtic were dealt a big blow when star forward Moussa Dembele left the club for Lyon on transfer deadline day in the summer.
As a result, Celtic have struggled to score goals this season. Brendan Rodgers’ side sits fifth in the league standings currently and are already six points behind early pacesetters Hearts. Olivier Ntcham has been the only Hoops player to score more than once in the Scottish Premiership this term and replacing Dembele has been a difficult task.
Following Dembele’s exit, Rodgers has three strikers at his disposal – Leigh Griffiths, youngster Michael Johnston and summer signing Odsonne Edouard. However, Griffiths is the only one who has been among the goals this season.
Although the transfer market will reopen in January, Rodgers must take a dip in the free agent market and find a player capable of filling the void left behind by Dembele. To that end, the Celtic manager could do a good job by snapping up Jerry Mbakogu.
Mbakogu, 26, is currently a free agent after leaving the Serie B side Carpi. The Nigerian is keeping the cards close to his chest over his future, perhaps waiting for the right offer for his next big move.
Mbakogu has played most of his football in Italy and has a career record of 63 goals in 243 club appearances. He is a strong, physical and a traditional No. 9 who can hold the ball up well and bring his teammates into the game. The Nigerian may not be the quickest centre-forward around but he certainly possesses the burst of pace needed to drive past defenders.
The former Carpi striker is physically strong and one can expect the 26-year-old to give defenders a tough time. The 6ft 1in star would provide Celtic with a different dimension in their attack and would also serve as an option from the bench to change the course of certain games. Mbakogu’s record in Italy’s second-tier was modest but he is yet to hit his prime.
Read more: Here are 3 strikers who are capable of solving Celtic’s goalscoring woes including 23-year-old World Cup star
Hence, Celtic should consider signing the powerful Nigerian. Having an experienced striker in the ranks to cover Griffiths and Edouard may not be a terrible idea as the 26-year-old is also available for free. Celtic must quickly snap up Mbakogu as he would be worth a gamble.