Even before Neil Lennon was confirmed as Celtic’s manager on a permanent basis, the returning Northern Irishman had apparently set his sights on bringing Gary Hooper back to Parkhead.
According to the Scottish Sun, Hooper would love a second spell in green and white once his contract at Sheffield Wednesday expired and Lennon seemed to share the enthusiasm of a striker he bought from Scunthorpe for £2.4 million almost a decade ago.
A prolific centre-forward who Lennon described as Celtic’s best striker since the legendary Henrik Larsson, Hooper scored goals and lifted trophies at a prolific rate during three years north of the border.
82 strikes in 132 games fired Celtic to two Premiership titles and a pair of Scottish Cups too.
Hooper has never been quite the same since he left Parkhead for Norwich City six years ago and, after a couple of injury-stricken seasons with Sheffield Wednesday, the 31-year-old is crying out for a fresh start.
And with two weeks to go until the transfer window slams shut, could a humiliating Champions League qualifying defeat to Cluj tempt Lennon to enter the market, not just for a pair of full-backs but to bring back a genuine fans’ favourite too?
Odsonne Edouard remains talented yet erratic, Leigh Griffiths has had his problems off the pitch while Vakoun Issouf Bayo is still very much an unknown. So if there’s any time for Hooper to come home, this could be it.
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