Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon was so interested in AZ Alkmaar’s goalscoring sensation Aron Johannsson that he embarked on a personal scouting mission to Holland to watch the striker in action in December 2013.
The Mail reported that Lennon was seeking attacking reinforcements and would have been impressed as the American youngster netted twice in a KNVB Cup victory over Heerenveen, for whom another Celtic target, £5m-rated Alfred Finnbogason, started.
And the Daily Record reported that Celtic would have to pay just £2.4 million to bring the then-23-year-old Johannsson to Parkhead. Considering that he would go on to score 26 goals for AZ over the course of the 2013/14 season, he would have seemed like good value at the time.
Since being linked with the Scottish champions midway through the 2013/14 season, Johannsson’s career has gone off track somewhat. The Alabama-born poacher stayed with AZ for another year and a half before making an ill-fated move to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.
£2.4m better off
Thanks to injuries, Johannsson’s impact in Germany has been minimal to say the least. He missed a total of 43 games due to adductor and hip problems between September 2015 and August 2016 and, despite admitting a desire to kick-start his career elsewhere in the summer (ESPN), will be stuck in the Bundesliga until January at the latest.
In total, Johannsson has started seven games in the last two seasons, featuring for just three minutes in 2017/18. In that time, he has managed just three league goals. Forcing his way into Alexander Nouri's first-team plans looks unlikely at best too, with Finn Bartels and Max Kruse impressing in attack and Ishak Belfodil arriving from Standard Liege in the summer.
While Finnbogason forges a respectable Bundesliga career with FC Augsburg, his fellow 2013 Celtic target has quickly become one of the league’s forgotten men.