Nadir Çiftçi; A risk worth taking

Amido Baldé, Daryl Murphy, Mohamed Bangura, Morten Rasmussen and Stefan Šćepović. All these players have one thing in common. They are all strikers that have commanded a fee and were a disappointment at Celtic Park. In the last five seasons, all of these names have appeared for a combined fee of £6.63m and offered 14 goals in 80 appearances.

Nadir Çiftçi has netted in 23 of his 64 matches during his two seasons in Tayside. Eclipsing anything that the aforementioned names showed in the Scottish top tier.

An advertised figure of £1.5m will secure the services of the Dundee United forward – who has less than a year to run on his contract. Is the seven-figure fee worth it for a player that has had more than his fair share of brushes with the footballing authorities.

There is no doubting the brashness that comes with his style of his play. Many flair footballers have come with the added baggage of letting their tempers boil over into something that will generate easy articles in the newspapers. Take Eric Cantona, he is as synonymous with his peacock celebration – for his marvellous chipped goal against Lionel Pérez – as he is for the kick to Crystal Palace fan, Matthew Simmons.

The Turkish youth international has had more than one on-the-pitch altercation that has seen him summoned to Hampden Park for questioning. In his first year, we saw the incident with the assistant referee, Gary Harris where he put his hand around his throat in the League Cup. Then there was the kick out against Scott Brown in the very ill-tempered Scottish Cup tie this campaign. And the most recent being an alleged bite against Dundee’s Jim McAllister in the 2014/15 season ending derby.

With that, however, you do see some wonderful trickery to bamboozle the opposition. His style makes him versatile with his pace and dribbling to complement the striker on either wing. Although his preferred position is as a striker with his height – standing at six foot tall – and his strength to hold up the ball. Ronny Deila’s style of play is akin to his current manager, Jackie McNamara – they both set out with a fluid three behind the one attacker. With Messrs Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong at the club already, his integration into the team should be a rather smooth one if he gets his ideal move.

He will not be the first player with a bad boy image to don the green and white Hoops. His agent, Pierre van Hooijdonk spent three prolific years in Glasgow during the mid-nineties. The ending turned sour when he proclaimed:

“The £7000 a week I earn may be good enough for a homeless person, but not for an International striker.”

Scott Brown during his younger years was known for being a liability and not to be trusted with keeping his emotions in check – especially when on a yellow card. Nowadays he plays on the edge but you will not see the club captain get sent off in a match as much as you would – or at least think he should.

There seems to be an outpour of support to get a striker with the ability to score in Europe. That sort of player does not come at a price that many clubs can afford, let alone Celtic. Getting proven young players to sell on for a profit is not what fans want to see from their club, but unless you are one of the elite teams in the world, that is where you find yourself. That does not mean the Glasgow giants should not make the best of the situation and cultivating a side that is capable of entering the Champions League on a regular basis and becoming self-sufficient through those means.

I believe Çiftçi to be a better striker than the Serbian Šćepović, who they signed from the Spanish Segunda División. Taking a punt on an attacker for a big fee is one that has backfired on more than a handful of occasions. One with Çiftçi’s ability to be a constant thorn in the side of the opposition with his skill is a trait you rarely get for that price.


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

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