Forget it Lennon – Celtic would be wise to dodge this 26-year-old French bullet

Why Celtic should stay away from CRF Cluj striker Billel Omrani

According to the Daily Record, Scottish champions Celtic have been linked with a move for CFR Cluj striker Billel Omrani. A graduate of the Marseille academy, Billel Omrani, 26, managed just 10 appearances in his five-year stay at the club.

After a season-long spell with Arles-Avignon, he joined CFR Cluj in 2016. The French forward ended the 2018/19 season with nine goals in 42 appearances across all competitions.

Omrani has hit the ground running in the new campaign, bagging 13 goals in all competitions till date. He impressed in Cluj’s dramatic 4-3 win over Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League qualifiers, when the 26-year-old scored two and assisted another in the shock win for the Romanian side.

Cluj's French striker Billel Omrani (R) vies with Rennes' French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga during the Europa League Group E football match between Rennes and CFR Cluj at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, on October 24, 2019. (Getty Images)
Cluj’s French striker Billel Omrani (R) vies with Rennes’ French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga during the Europa League Group E football match between Rennes and CFR Cluj at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, on October 24, 2019. (Getty Images)

Keeping his goalscoring form for the Romanian outfit in mind this season, should the Hoops make a move for the 26-year-old in January?

Odsonne Edouard is Celtic’s first-choice striker and the club’s leading match-winner, with an outstanding record in Old Firm matches as well as cup finals.

He has also been in excellent form this season, scoring 14 goals and providing 13 assists from 27 matches in all competitions. But the French striker has had injury problems of late and as a result, Neil Lennon could look to sign another striker in January. (h/t BBC)

As things stand, Celtic now have Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Bayo back from injury.

What’s important is that if the Hoops go in for a fourth centre-forward in January, he has to be better or at least of the same quality as Lennon’s current options. Omrani, in that regard, doesn’t fit the bill at Parkhead.

Celtic team celebrating a goal. (Getty Images)
Celtic team celebrating a goal (Getty Images)

Despite scoring 13 goals in all competitions this season, Omrani has offered very little threat in the three other meetings between the two sides. In fact, since his brace against Celtic, he’s only scored one goal in eight European matches.

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And while the Frenchman could become an adequate backup to Odsonne Edouard, also providing cover on the wings, Celtic currently have enough depth in the striking department following the return of Griffiths and Bayo from injury.

Verdict

Omrani hasn’t done anything special to earn a move to Celtic. The French forward may have scored a lot of goals this season for CFR Cluj but he just isn’t of the standard to play for the Scottish champions. Hence, the Hoops must drop their interest.

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Written by Rohan Sengupta

Hi, I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.
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