Neil Lennon once claimed Gary Hooper was best Celtic striker since Henrik Larsson, valued Englishman at £35m

Manager of Celtic Neil Lennon walks to the dugout before the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie Stadium on May 04, 2019 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The one-time Celtic favourite is leaving Sheffield Wednesday this summer.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon (r) congratulates Celtic striker Gary Hooper after substituting him during the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road...

Neil Lennon once claimed Gary Hooper was the best Celtic striker since Henrik Larsson and valued the departing Sheffield Wednesday man at £35 million.

According to The Sun, Hooper has emerged as a target for Celtic - if Lennon is appointed manager on a permanent basis - and would be keen on a return to Parkhead.

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It follows confirmation of the 31-year-old's release by Sheffield Wednesday after Sunday’s Championship season finale against QPR, in which he made only his sixth senior appearance in almost 18 months.

 

Hooper, though, scored 82 goals in 138 games during Lennon's first spell as Celtic boss, and was held in extremely high regard by the Northern Irishman.

"If I had to put a price on Gary’s head then it would be £35 million," Lennon said, as quoted by the Daily Mail, in January 2012. "Even if we did receive a knock-out price for Gary, would we be able to replace him? Trust me, goalscorers of his calibre are not easy to find."

It was the former Celtic midfielder that brought Hooper to Glasgow in a £2 million deal from Scunthorpe United.

And, as quoted by the Daily Telegraph after the Englishman's 2013 transfer to Norwich City, Lennon said: "For me, he is one of my best signings in so many ways - value for money, the improvement in the player, his goals obviously, the link-up play.

5 Aug 2000:  Henrik Larsson of Celtic in an aerial battle with Benito Kemble of Motherwell during the Scottish Premier League match played at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic won...

"I think he has been the best striker here since Henrik and he will be a huge loss to us but we move on.

"He has aspirations to play for England and in the Premier League and he's got that now. I wish him well.

"Part of me wants to strangle him but you don't want to stop the progress of some individuals.

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"Gary feels the next step forward to try to break into the England team is to play in the Premier League, and obviously there is the financial side of things as well."

Would the former Sheffield Wednesday striker be a worthwhile signing for Celtic?

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