Date: 3rd January 2013 at 2:07pm
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Savvy asks whether the much-admired Gary Hooper could join from Celtic, after Chris Hughton watched Celtic’s game yesterday…

With Celtic’s excellent performances in the Champions League seeing them qualify for the last 16, it was seen unlikely that there would be any moves away for their prized assets.

However, with Hughton taking in the win over Motherwell at Celtic Park yesterday, the rumour mill has gone haywire today suggesting that we are preparing a bid for Gary Hooper.

This might seem odd given Celtic’s involvement in the ECL, however Hooper was signed two and a half years ago from Scunthorpe, is yet to sign a new contract and only has 18 months left to run on his deal.

It’s safe to say that his wages would most likely reflect that of a higher-echelon Championship side and he may (a) want more money and (b) see playing in the Premier League as a better way of getting into the England international set up.

Whether Hughton was watching Hooper or Beram Kayal or indeed Emilio Izaguirre I do not know. However, there might well be something in the Hooper rumour.

Celtic coach Garry Parker felt inclined to comment on Hooper after the game. ‘I expect Gary to be here at the end of January, definitely.

‘Would it be madness to leave now? Of course it would.

‘We want to keep him. We are in Europe, the last 16 of the Champions League is coming up. I don’t think any player would like to leave now.

‘I don’t know what his thoughts are but I think he will stay. I’m certainly hoping that.

‘It’s down to the manager and the people upstairs – but why would he want to leave when he has Champions League football?’

So presumably Hooper is stalling. Whether he just wants a pay rise with Celtic we don’t yet know. But with Craig Makail-Smith, Danny Graham and Jacob Mullenga all linked recently, it would seem another striker is not that far away.

Would I be pleased if Celtic’s Hooper joined, who has scored 53 goals in 80 games for Celtic and scored 43 in 80 for Scunthorpe before that? Yes I definitely would.