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Would an Aron Johannsson-Celtic transfer be a good idea?

Dec 23, 2013, 3:36 PM EDT


Normally, any young U.S. man moving to a bigger club would put a little jingle in the jangle for every U.S. Soccer supporter.

But this talk of current high-scorer Aron Johannsson moving to Scottish heavyweight Celtic comes with all kinds of cautionary hangups.

First, beyond the Champions League or Europa matches in which Johannsson might himself, the level of general competition for Johannsson won’t be any better than the Dutch League.

Then there’s the rather unique history of scorers at Celtic and Rangers; they tend to score in bunches against all that inferior competition – but then they fade quickly once assigned taller tasks upon moves elsewhere.

Then there is the issue of minutes. Johannsson is performing fabulously for AZ right now. He’s on pace to undo Jozy Altidore’s mark for top scoring season for an American abroad, don’t you know?

(MORE: Will Johannsson match Jozy Altidore’s record-setting season?)

There is absolutely zero question that the recent newcomer to the U.S. national team will continue to get minutes at his Dutch club, not only in Eredivisie action, but in the Dutch Cup, where his small club has reached the quarterfinal stage.

At Celtic? Who knows, really? There’s plenty of competition for a 23-year-old striker without a ton of international experience, even if there is significant roster changeover ahead.

As of now, it looks like Johannsson has done enough to earn his spot on the Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man roster; ongoing playing time in Holland and few more goals, and the young man seems destined to find himself in Brazil. On the other hand, if he rides the bench awhile in Scotland, who knows how that might tip the balance as Klinsmann makes those critical roster choices – especially if a Herculez Gomez or someone else gets hot.

  1. mdac1012 - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Steve, you already said it, the competition he would be facing would not be any better than what he is facing now. A move to the English Championship or MLS would provide better competition week in, week out than the Scottish Premiership provides these days. The only benefit of a move to Celtic gives you is you are guaranteed to be playing in Europe every season.

    • Steve Davis - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Considering the opportunity to for Champions League action (if only in the group stage) a move to Celtic this summer would not completely stink for the young man. But now … yeah, it would stink.

  2. pjbowmaster - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    US National Team regulars should be beyond Scottish Football. The level is no longer high enough. MLS is a better choice. And so is Dutch Football. Particularly in terms of development for the player. Name one US player that didn’t regress in Scotland…..

    • tomcatfl - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Especially now that the Old Firm has been broken up, the SPL has no “bigger clubs” than anything in the Eredivisie, pretty much by definition. Celtic gets to play CL now because, well, someone has to. Pretty much like NZ at the World Cup…

      • Steve Davis - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        That is EXACTLY right. There once was an opportunity for regular, huge matches against in a real cauldron of a rivalry. Now that those opportunities are much fewer and far between …

      • johnnyah - Dec 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Celtic in the champions league is a bit like the USA in the world cup by that logic

  3. dfstell - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I’ll confess to a soft spot when it comes to Celtic, but I have to agree with the other commenters who are basically saying what everyone knows: The Scottish league isn’t much. Celtic is a very nice club and can give most other clubs in Europe a run for their money. About the only teams that smash Celtic are the really big European heavyweights.

    But, there’s just nobody to play against and it won’t help him to go somewhere where the competition isn’t all that.

    Still…’s up to him. Athletes have such short careers. He should go where ever he is happiest and can make the most money.

  4. drewvt6 - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    We’ve seen Kenny Miller up close and so we’d have to assume Johannson could set records in the SPL.

    • bear06 - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:05 AM

      I rather see him trying to set records in much better leagues like La Liga or the Bundesliga.

  5. rphillish - Dec 23, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea, but yeah, Celtic and SPL aren’t much of an improvement over his current situation. It be like if he took a transfer over to Ajax; It’s a more prestigious club to be sure, but still a second tier league.

    • bear06 - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      The Eredivisie is a better league than the SPL.

  6. charliej11 - Dec 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Please no.

  7. johnnyah - Dec 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    If i was his agent i’d be telling him to sign for Celtic asap if they want him. You are all looking at this from a team USA perspective and this summers world cup, and with respect the USA cannot win the world cup. with or without him. Whilst there is no real difference in standard between the Dutch Eredivisie and the SPFL Prem he would be moving to a bigger club with a big club mentality and everything that goes with that. Celtic is also a a club that the EPL feeds from particularly as they can judge their players against the worlds best in the champions league.. so it would vastly improve his chances of a bigger move still IF he’s good enough. its a no brainer for him as a player.. if the move is on grab it with both hands. Celtic are also desperate for a striker right now so he would definitely get his chance sooner rather than later. don’t forget on a personal level he will be earning more money too. stupid if he didn’t go.

    • bear06 - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:11 AM

      It’s a good thing you’re not his agent haha. The Eredivisie is a better league than the SPL and he could wait after the World Cup which I think he will do, and wait so he can get offers from good clubs in a top 4 league (BPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A).

      • johnnyah - Dec 28, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        says who?.. you? like i said there is VERY little between both leagues in over all standard as professed by Virgil Van Dijk and Derk Berrigter who have just moved from the eredivisie to the SPFL. VVD said the type of football is different but the standard is the same. so yes if i was his agent i would be telling him that a move to a bigger club with a higher profile where he will be earning more money is a good idea. IF he’s good enough he’ll have a better shop window at celtic than he has at AZ. ask yourself why aren’t any of the teams from the “top 4” leagues interested now? you’re clueless.

      • bear06 - Dec 29, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Says who? Everyone who knows about football but obviously you don’t. There are plenty of clubs from top leagues who have an eye out on him. There is no need for him to go to a good team in a crappy league next month, because if he waits until after the World Cup there will be much better offers from clubs in top leagues. I’m clueless? lmao! Says the clueless delusional idiot who knows nothing about the game.

      • johnnyah - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        after the word cup?? lol what are you expecting? chances are the USA will only play 3 games at the world cup! and as we’ve already established he’s already behind the “world beater” that is jozy altidore you muppet.. and you expect better offers from bigger leagues on the basis of that? its you thats deluded. he has an opportunity now to advance his career you fool. there are absolutely ZERO guarantees after the world cup especially if his time on the pitch is limited. as i said from the beginning if you were an agent managing his career you’d tell him to grab this opportunity with both hands if its on now. its you that knows nothing.

      • bear06 - Dec 29, 2013 at 10:36 PM

        You are seriously delusional. You don’t know that the USA will only play 3 games, they aren’t favored to advanced out of the group but the games against Ghana & Portugal are winnable so they have a chance. And like I said before Johannsson just recently got called up to the U.S. national team so of course Altidore (Scores for the U.S.) is currently above him you stupid buffoon. He has the opportunity to advance his career? Sorry but he’s not going to that crappy SPL league that is now worse than the MLS. You know nothing about the game of football.

      • johnnyah - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM

        YOU would advise a young player offered with the chance NOW to double his earnings, play in the champions league and have the sort of exposure over a longer period of time than a few world cup games (which he may not play in).. to turn it down on the GAMBLE that the USA and himself in particular will have the sort of tournament that will get him a move to a big league. you’re insane. yet you say i know nothing about football. Ask victor wanyama, gary hooper or ki sung young who made very similar moves what 18 months at celtic did for their careers. fraser forster is now going to the world cup with england and wanted by every top club in europe.. prior to joining celtic he was languishing in newcastle’s reserves or out on loan in the english 3rd tier. same for mikael lustig who was plying his trade in norway. virgil van dijk is now being tipped for a call up to the holland squad ahead of the world cup! but i know nothing?!? i deal in facts and stats mate not opinion.. and certainly not yours.

      • bear06 - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        No, just because he can earn double the money and play a few CL games next season doesn’t mean he should move, playing a few CL games isn’t worth it since the SPL is crap. He is better of staying at AZ until after the World Cup because if he keeps scoring goals and does well in the WC a club like Arsenal who has already been rumored to have an eye on him could sign him in the summer. He doesn’t need to go to no mediocre league just so he can go to a mid table BPL club a few years later. You don’t like what I’m saying because you’re obviously a celtic fan but the truth hurts. I laughed when Aron trolled everybody when he tweeted a picture of him at a Glasgow airport haha.

  8. johnnyah - Dec 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    by the way the article mentions Jozy Altidore.. seriously, if Jozy Altidore is currently getting picked ahead of him why would anyone want to buy him!! if Jozy Altidore is the benchmark your career is already down the pan.

    • bear06 - Dec 25, 2013 at 2:08 AM

      Your comment makes no sense whatsoever.

      • johnnyah - Dec 28, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        in what respect? imo he’s as average an international striker as you’ll ever see. he’s been absolutely woeful at sunderland.. intact he’s been absolutely woeful everywhere except Holland. the word overrated was invented for jozy altidore. simply not good enough for “top 4” leagues and the stats prove me right and you wrong. my point is if jozy altidore is ahead of you in the pecking order for an international shirt you need to ask yourself some serious questions.

      • bear06 - Dec 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        You seriously don’t know what you’re talking about. Aron Johannsson got his first call up to the U.S. national team back in August so of course Altidore who has been scoring for the national team is currently ahead of Johannsson. Yeah, he’s been woeful at Sunderland but saying that just because he’s ahead of Johannsson in the national doesn’t mean his career is already down the pan. That’s just a bunch of BS made by a clueless idiot.

      • johnnyah - Dec 29, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        my point was more about how bad jozy altidore is than it was about johannsson.. it was meant sarcastically and down the pan is a turn of phrase. his career of course isn’t down the pan at his age (it wasn’t literal) but its fair to say if you were him you’d be asking what you had to do to get a shirt ahead of the donkey that is altidore!

      • bear06 - Dec 29, 2013 at 10:37 PM

        You’re an idiot.

      • johnnyah - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        i know an overrated player when i see one.. put jozy down for a return to the eriedivisie or MLS any time soon.

      • bear06 - Dec 30, 2013 at 8:54 PM

        If any of the Celtic forwards played at Sunderland he would probably have the same number of goals as Jozy. He has scored plenty of goals this year for his national team because his teammates feeds him service.

  9. bellerophon30 - Dec 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I agree with the consensus that this would be, at the very best, a lateral move for Aron. Given that Rangers are yet again having financial issues, you can’t even guarantee the Old Firm coming back in two years. The only upside for Aron here is that Celtic is a feeder team for mid/lower table EPL teams, given that scouting is so easy there.

    But for the love of Jurgen I hope he picks his next team wisely, I bet Jozy is now wondering about the road not traveled.

  10. achap39 - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    As a Hoops supporter, I naturally want Johannsson to come over and (likely) replace Samaras or Ledley. As for the strength of the SPL…there’s no defending it. Saints lost on PKs in the 3rd qualifying round for Europa, and that was considered a success for the league.

    Ajax and Celtic are the only true comparisons between the SPFL and Eredivisie. PSV, even in their down year, would throttle ICT or Aberdeen.

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