“Prolific” striker certain to leave his club

Celtic are fielding interest in one of their young talents this month, with Serie A side Bologna keen on 18-year-old midfielder Rocco Vata. Fabrizio Romano reported earlier this week that talks would be taking place amid a ‘growing’ clamour for his signature.

Intriguingly, though, Celtic themselves are admirers of one of Bologna’s players – striker Sydney van Hooijdonk, the son of 1990s Hoops forward Pierre van Hooijdonk. Reports in Italy have stated that the Scottish Premiership leaders have been scouting the frontman and have listed him as a target. And now there’s been a further development, with an exit potentially imminent.

Van Hooijdonk exit appears a certainty

According to newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport (via 67 Hail Hail), Celtic-linked Van Hooijdonk will leave Bologna this month. The plan is to sign Santiago Castro from Velez Sarsfield in Argentina and then let the Dutchman depart, although he will be needed against Cagliari on Sunday.


After that, he should be given the green light to leave, and the paper thinks that he’ll be joining Celtic amid Bologna’s interest in Vata. That, they say, will make the negotiations easier.

Devastating Eredivisie form catches Rodgers’ eye

23-year-old striker Van Hooijdonk is a product of the NAC Breda academy, and has been on Bologna’s books since 2021. He spent 18 months back on loan in his homeland with Heerenveen and returned to Italy in the summer, where he hoped to maintain his “prolific” goalscoring form (in the words of talent scout Jacek Kulig).

Having netted 23 times in his first 70 senior matches with Breda, he scored 26 in 54 for Heerenveen, a strike rate of almost exactly one in two. His haul of 16 in the Eredivisie last season was enough to rank him third in the scoring charts, and he only required one penalty to reach that figure. His xG of 14 makes for encouraging reading too – his movement was good enough to generate a high-volume of quality chances, but he didn’t overperform at an unsustainable rate.


Celtic to spring out of nowhere for “flamboyant” £3.4m target – report

It’s been quiet on the transfer front for months, but Celtic could now come alive.

While he hasn’t been able to find the net for Bologna this season, that certainly shouldn’t count against him given that he’s only played 129 league minutes, which is less than one and a half matches overall. He’s unfortunately suffered from the form of compatriot and fellow number nine Joshua Zirkzee, who’s scored eight goals and provided four assists in all competitions to very much make the spot his own.

After tying up a deal or wide man Nicolas Kuhn, Brendan Rodgers wants to add a new number nine to his squad, and Van Hooijdonk’s track record in the Netherlands suggests he could provide excellent cover and competition for Kyogo Furuhashi. He’d have to go some way to match the output of his father mind, who bagged a whopping 44 goals in 69 league appearances for the Hoops.

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