Released at 14 - But is he Tottenham Hotspur's £8 million striking solution?

Gary Hooper

Should Tottenham Hotspur chase Celtic striker Gary Hooper this summer?

In January Norwich City made several bids for Celtic striker Gary Hooper with the highest reported fee said to reach the £7.1 million mark as they attempted to bring in a striker capable of firing them to safety.

In the end they were unsuccessful in their approach for the 25-year-old and had to make do with Luciano Becchio and Kei Kamara as their forward reinforcements whilst agreeing a deal for Ricky van Wolfswinkel to arrive in the summer; thus far they are still waiting to be ‘fired’ to safety.

For Hooper this summer remains the perfect opportunity for him to cross the border and try and crack the Premier League. When quizzed on his future immediately after winning the SPL title last month he stated simply … ‘We’ll see’.

With a World Cup coming up in 2014 and the current top English scorer in the Premier League being Rickie Lambert on 14 goals Hooper would have every reason to believe he could best that record; and stake a claim for a potential England berth in Brazil; that’s if the Three Lions make it that far.

But where should he go?

Newcastle United have been linked with his signature while Aston Villa may pursue him if Christian Benteke gets a move. Van Wolfswinkel may have taken his spot at Norwich while it may also depend on which of these teams is a Premier League club next season.

But considering his scoring record in Scotland he could certainly aim higher in his ambitions. While first-team football may be harder to come by with a move to one of the Champions League chasers it would put him in a higher profile position for Roy Hodgson; and I know a team that would not mind a player who has scored 171 goals in 386 games.

Tottenham Hotspur are widely expected to move Emmanuel Adebayor on this summer after a disappointing campaign for the Togolese forward and with just Jermain Defoe as the current front-line striker they need to buy at least one new front-man in the summer.

While some Spurs fans may have hope for youngsters like Harry Kane and Shaquille Coulthirst it has to be said that for the former he does not seem to possess the necessary quality while the latter - well it has come to soon.

So why not take a gamble on Hooper along with another striker - perhaps even Benteke?

Andre Villas Boas knows he needs at least three front-line strikers if he is to realistically have a shot at challenging for the league title and Hooper is certainly a player who knows where the goal is.

But if he is a man who bears a grudge Hooper may not be so willing. At just 14-years-old Spurs released Hooper and he descended into non-league obscurity with Essex-based outfit Maldon Town. He then played a part in the emergence of Grays Athletic and was snapped up by Southend United. But it was not until a loan-spell at Hereford United that he truly proved his worth. A subsequent successful spell at Scunthorpe United followed and he has been banging in the goals over the border since 2010.

Sure the SPL is not what it used to be and the standard of play not necessarily up to Premier League; or The Championship levels. But he has also done the business in Europe against some of the continents top teams and would certainly be worth a punt.

This is not the short, skinny lad that Spurs let go in 2002. He is now a strong and bullish centre-forward and with a point to prove he could be deadly in the Tottenham set-up.

For a price in the region of £8 million this could prove a great piece of business from Daniel Levy and co; just as long as he ditches the number 88 shirt.

Do you think Gary Hooper could do a job at White Hart Lane?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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