A year since Liverpool links, goalless Sardar Azmoun should still be a Celtic target ahead of World Cup

Rostov's Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League football match between FC Rostov and FC Bayern Munich at Rostov-on-...

Celtic were reportedly keen to sign Sardar Azmoun over the summer.

Rostov's Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs FC Rostov at the Vicente Calderon stadium...

In the run-up to the January transfer window, clubs are linked with a host of players, and whilst some of the speculation turns into deals, others fall by the wayside.

One such link last November saw The Guardian report that Liverpool were looking to mount a bid for then-Rostov striker Sardar Azmoun, in an attempt to boost Jurgen Klopp's attacking options.

Azmoun, 22, hit 13 goals in 36 games for Rostov, but no move to Liverpool materialised in 2017, and he instead re-joined Russian rivals Rubin Kazan over the summer.

Rostov's Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League football match between FC Rostov and FC Bayern Munich at Rostov-on-...

However, Azmoun has failed to live up to the hype upon his return to Rubin, failing to score a single goal, whilst starting just five league games as he struggles to make an impact.

Another club who wanted to sign Azmoun were Celtic, as The Scottish Sun reported that he was being lined up as a potential replacement for Moussa Dembele if the Frenchman was sold.

Dembele ended up staying, and Azmoun headed to Rubin, but given his struggles in Russia this season, Celtic would be wise to keep him on their wish list in case Dembele does end up moving on next summer, and may even land him at a cheaper price off the back of his struggles this term.

Sardar Azmoun of FC Rubin Kazan vies for the ball with Nikita Chernov (R) of FC Ural Ekaterinburg during the Russian Premier League match between FC Rubin Kazan and FC Ural Ekaterinburg at...

The Bhoys should even consider a cheeky January move, given that Azmoun will be in action for Iran at the World Cup next summer, and his stunning record of 22 goals in 30 caps suggests that he could be prolific for his country – ironically, in Russia.

Azmoun could generate interest of the back of the World Cup, and if Celtic are still keeping tabs on Azmoun, they should be laying the groundwork for a 2018 move in the hope of landing the player Liverpool thought they could sign a year ago.

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