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Report: Celtic eyeing red-hot Johannsson

Aron Johannsson AZ Alkmaar 1 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Aron Johannsson’s red-hot start to the season with AZ Alkmaar has not gone unnoticed, especially not by Celtic.

According to a report out of the United Kingdom, Celtic are eyeing Johannsson with the hopes of signing him in the near future. The Scottish powerhouse currently employs forwards like Georgios Samaras and Anthony Stokes, but that is not stopping them from being interested in the 22-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team forward with nine goals to his name in the current European season.

Celtic, who are regulars in the UEFA Champions League, are no strangers to American players. They formerly had goalkeeper Dom Cervi on their books and expressed an interest in signing midfielder Sacha Kljestan back in 2009.

Johannsson has been a scoring sensation at the club level in recent years. He lit up the scoreboards in the Danish Superliga with AGF Aarhus before transferring to AZ this past January and doing well in the Eredivisie.

What do you think of Celtic having reported interest in Johannsson? Would you be in favor of him making the move to the Scottish club/league? Prefer to see him stick with AZ?

Share your thoughts below.

164 comments
    • James

      SPL isn’t the strongest league in Europe, but you’re talking about a team that always qualifies for the Champions league, beat Barcelona last year, and made it to the round of 16 (granted they got throttled by Juventus in that round).

      The league may not be a step up from the Eredivisie, but the team certainly is an improvement, and he would gain valuable experience and exposure to other larger leagues.

      Like

      • freddie sharkey

        i agree and at least with Celtic the exposure would only enhance his chances to move to epl

        Like

  • Gary Page

    To add to the chorus, he can do better. He can hold out for a big 5 league, at least a mid table team in a big 5 league.

    Like

  • Ian

    I don’t see the benefit. Yes, he’d get UCL experience, but the SPL just isn’t that good. Honestly, I’m still skeptical about Jozy’s move to the EPL, which is head and shoulders above the SPL. Eredivisie teams play a technical attacking style, and it’s helped our players get into great form for the Nats. Hope he doesn’t move anywhere, especially Scotland.

    Like

  • JD

    Going to Celtic would give him exposure to Champions League. Strong performances in the Champions League would boost his stock. Victor Wanyama was able to parlay a strong Champions League performance into a move to the Premiership. Besides Champions League I’m not sure the league offers Johannsson much more. As a Celtic supporter I would like to see him play for the club but if he plays well this season he will have other better options.

    Like

  • Eric

    Scottish league is bad, but at least with Celtic he’d get Champions League experience, which is pretty valuable, and Celtic clearly aren’t sold on Samaras being the answer at striker. I could see the benefit of such a move.

    Like

      • Michael

        Do you mean a Champions League team in a league either than SPL? Celtic are a Champions League team and will be for the foreseeable future, especially with Rangers in lower division till 2015.

        Like

      • freddie sharkey

        Celtic will be a a champions league team even when the huns get back to the top table because it will take them a few seasons to be serious competition

        Like

    • Good Jeremy

      Call me old fashioned, but maybe not use God’s name in vain? It is one of the 10 commandments that some 2/3 of the world believe in so it’s not like I’m a crazy person expecting the entire world to change just for me.

      Like

      • Nick

        Wait… are you serious bro? This is a soccer blog.. save your self-righteous, hypocritical religious BS for Fox and Friends.

        Like

      • Good Jeremy

        What did I say that was self-righteous?
        What did I say that was hypocritical?

        Like

      • whoop-whoop

        Who says he’s using it in vain? This might well be a very sincere request.

        Like

      • Acebojangles

        It’s fine for you to follow whatever religious commandments you wish, but this isn’t the place to try to convince other people to follow them.

        If you’re offended, that’s (slightly) different.

        Like

      • God

        Jeremy,
        You are going to hell anyway for what you’ve done, so you can stop kissing my ass.

        God

        PS Screw Mexico

        Like

      • Joe+G

        Christians and Jews only account for about 35% of the world’s population. Even if you add in Muslims (which seems a stretch…), you are only at about 55% of the people in the world.

        Like

      • whoop-whoop

        It’s a well known fact that the One true creator of all that is, has been, and will ever be is a humorless, cranky and somewhat petty sort who passes his time eavesdropping upon and logging every word uttered in order to rain vengeful hellfire upon all infractions/those who dare offend and/or infringe upon the copyrights he has held sole claim to for deities in several languages since… well… before copyright laws even existed. I understand he is a Real Madrid fan as well. I’m totally screwed.

        Like

      • GW

        You’re wrong.

        God is now writing articles for GOAL in an attempt to expand his brand.

        Like

      • Ian

        I completely agree, MLS is better than the SPL (save for Celtic), but how does either league stack up against the Eredivisie? I’d say Dutch football has MLS beat in spades, even comparing mid-table teams only. It’s more fluid and creative, and that’s what Klinsmann wants from our forwards: creative attacking soccer.

        Like

  • first time caller

    Wouldn’t like that move. Aron Bacon (and all USMNT players) should steer clear of the Scottish league for now, methinks.

    Like

  • Rory

    The Dutch league is by far superior to the Scottish League. In fact, if you are on Celtic playing the likes of the rest of the league I’m just not sure that is any better than MLS. But I don’t necessarily want Johannsson to go to the EPL, would like to see him in Spain

    Like

    • Ian

      Spain, Germany or Italy would be a better fit than EPL, but frankly the Eredivisie is a damn fine place for him to be.

      Like

    • freddie sharkey

      if he is so good then come to the greatest football team in the world hail hail!! Celtic he would be too classy for spain or any other leagues

      Like

  • HoboMike

    If he likes his knees and ankles, he’d best stay away from the SPL.

    While he would be guaranteed CL action for at least another 2 years, he’d also be playing against amateur-level competition for 36 games per year.

    Like

    • freddie sharkey

      might be ametuer level but when Celtic is in town they tend to up their game doesn’t do them any good but they try

      Like

  • SBB

    Playing CL is nice but not worth it if you trade it for a season of crappy games.
    If he goes to England he gets to play much better overall competition in a regular basis than he would with Celtic even if he gets to play CL.
    Same with Germany or Spain

    Like

  • Tom

    Stay with AZ. CL would be nice, but the SPL is essentially a one-team league. And he’d be on that one team.

    Like

  • solles

    Arguably moving to Celtic would move him a little closer to being picked up by an English team but if he keeps scoring the way he has at AZ he wont need that stepping stone and he’ll ‘do an Altidore’ and move straight to the premier league next season. Celtic and the SPL are a step down from the Eredivise at this point, sadly.

    Like

  • AC

    If he keeps up this scoring pace, even if it is in the Netherlands where offense is focused upon more than defense, Celtic will definitely not be the only team looking to sign him.

    Like

  • slowleftarm

    I don’t see why any player would make this move, unless his salary increased a decent amount. He’d get a few Champions League games, although this year Celtic will be out before the transfer window opens. The rest of the time, he’d be playing low level competition in the freezing cold. I guess it must feel good to win all the time so maybe there’s that.

    The only I’d support this move is it somehow resulted in people no longer calling him “bacon” which is surely the stupidest nickname of all time.

    Like

    • Kevin_H

      It’s like that one friend everyone seems to have, who goes too far with a joke or uses it so much it’s no longer funny. Weirdly, some people seem to be calling him Bacon without intending it to be a joke. I’m annoyed by it too.

      Like

      • Ooh Klinsi you shouldn't have

        Agree with you both, and please, no more wondowlowski jokes for christs sake

        Like

      • Joamiq

        I’m just curious what it is that you find stupid about it. The guy did make a whole video about the resemblance. He has some say in his nickname, no?

        Like

    • freddie sharkey

      get a grip its hardly ever freezing cold and whose to say (wishing glass half full) Celtic wont go on to beat Barcelona (remember they DID beat them at parkhead (paradise)last year 2-1 and watt a second goal even rod Stewart was in tears ) also ajax ( we will clean up ) both home and away we did that before also then ac Milan have to come to paradise never an easy place to come to the atmosphere is electric

      Like

  • slowleftarm

    Any time I see an article on this site about this guy I can’t help but recall the very angry person who used to post here under the handle “SanFran415.” Wonder where he went. Most likely, he’s too busy running the Aron Johannsson fan club to post any more. Can’t say that I miss him.

    Like

  • BryanV7

    Why would he go to Scotland that’s a major downgrade stay in Holland is a much better league he might as well go to the MLS if he’s thinking of going to Celtics

    Like

  • SanFran415

    Bad move. Johannson should hold out for a move to Manchester United or Real Madrid. My guess is he will and the transfer will come after the season.

    Like

  • Ameritoon

    We’ve already seen Altidore make a mistake with his big transfer, hope it doesn’t happen again here. Assuming if his form keeps up there will be better clubs in better leagues interested.

    Like

    • ronniet

      Wayy too early to say altidore made a mistake so calm down! He’s only played in 6 games with his new team and 2 of those were cup games where he got on the score sheet in the opener! I don’t get why people are so quick to bash American players before letting things play out, it’s very unproductive in my opinion!

      Like

      • Ameritoon

        Besides being a Newcastle fan, I don’t think Sunderland’s lack of creativity suits Jozy at all. If it was his best offer, then fair enough, but I’d like to believe there were a few clubs that were interested were not threatened by relegation. We’ll see what happens with a new manager, but I think PDC’s firing speaks volumes about Altidore’s decision.

        Like

      • Rory

        You think Sunderland are going to just magically become a good enough team that Jozy gets any scoring chances up top in league play?

        I don’t.

        Like

      • GW

        Sunderland need goals.

        Jozy is their best hope for goals.

        The transfer window is closed so the only other avenue for new guys are free agents, loans or promotions from within. My guess is no one from those sources would be better than Jozy.

        So he will have about two and a half months worth of games to prove himself.

        The new manager will have to use him as the pointy end of the spear.

        Jozy has nothing to lose and everything to gain. If he looks bad then he gets what he deserves.

        Christian Benteke managed to look pretty good with a crap Villa team. I don’t know if Jozy is as good as Benteke right now but he could be.

        With a good manager, Jozy could do just fine.

        Like

      • beachbum

        we’ll see, but what give you the idea that Sunderland can do anything to serve the ball to Jozy better now? He needs that as part of his game, he’s not a lone creator up top, but with service he can be deadly

        Like

      • GW

        Sunderland brought in 14 new guys this season.

        I know it’s crazy but I’m one of those people who actually believe that the more time you practice with your teammates the better you and the team get. Strange theory , huh?

        Every game, every practice, they get just a bit better.

        Just because we are not familiar with most of these guys it does not mean they aren’t talented.

        Besides, I have very low expectations. I just want to show that he can be a good forward and score in this league.

        Achieving that is not the same thing as Sunderland winning. I don’t care if they get relegated. If Jozy can make his case then someone will buy him. And right now I would think everyone on the Sunderland roster is highly motivated to play the best they can if only to audition for other teams. Imminent unemployment is a great motivator.

        And Jozy is probably in the best position of anyone on that team to showcase himself.

        Jozy is healthy , young , single, and getting paid very well to do something he loves and most everyone on SBI would kill to do. He has an opportunity to make a splash in the highest profile league in the world.

        I see absolutely zero reason to feel bad for him in any way.

        Like

      • rockem

        Well point, lets see what happens. I think Jozy is looking good and that will show, period!

        Like

  • Aaron in SF

    Can’t imagine any player wanting to get a move sealed before a World Cup, unless they were ultra-conservative or just had an amazing offer they couldn’t turn down. His stock can likely only go up if he makes the WC roster (which seems very likely). If Altidore continues to not score in Sunderland, A-Jo could very well get a ton of exposure in Brazil, and better leagues will take notice.

    Like

    • GW

      Teams that on the market for strikers in the January window may not be desperate but from a negotiating standpoint it would seem to be a seller’s market.

      If AZ get a good offer, from a good club situation, Aron would have to consider it because how do you know he will have a good World Cup? What if he gets hurt in the World Cup?

      It’s his life but Aron is always only one Brian Mullan tackle away from having to do something else for a living.

      Like

  • Scott e Dio93

    The money is good but SPL is below MLS level, especially without Rangers, might reduce the producting at the World’s stage. Just wait and see what other clubs from Lique 1, Serie A, La Liga, Bungesliga, EPL or some other big club.

    Like

    • freddie sharkey

      the spfl is good quality because Glasgow Celtic are there once the old firm derby becomes a regular occurrence again it will be better because Celtic will win the league but actually get a real contest but the huns downfall is down to their own financial misshandeling so they deserved to be punished i question if the boot had been on the other foot ie: Celtic had went bankrupt would you be saying the same some how i think not

      Like

  • Jay

    SPL is not a good league. He won’t have much quality opposition in league games. He needs to hold out for a mid table EPL, Bundesliga or La Liga team. Or maybe a team like Ajax or PSV will want him, that’d be fine as long as he gets playing time.

    Like

      • freddie sharkey

        NO!!!!!!! nobody in their right mind would want to play for the mackems

        Like

    • Jarrod

      Agreed about the SPL, However, AZ, Twente, PSV and Ajax are all the top teams in Holland and are pretty equal in talent and prestige, though Twente and Ajax have the most history of greatness.

      So if he were to stay in the Eredivisie, which would be great with me as it’s a good overall league, then staying at AZ is basically as good as going to the other 3 top clubs in the league.

      Like

    • Kung Fu Kangaroos

      The start of Beasley’s downfall before he landed in Mexico. He really should have stayed in Holland. That league was perfect for him and PSV is a good team and organization. I believe Guss Hiddink was coach too.

      Like

      • GW

        Mr. Roos,

        If he had stayed in Holland, Hiddink would not have been his manager.

        Hiddink left PSV a year before DMB did.

        DMB had two seasons with PSV one good one ,one indifferent one and then he left them for Man City on a season long loan. He spent most of that loan hurt, though he did score three goals for City.

        He then joined Rangers and did well until he got hurt, colliding with the Stuttgart keeper in a Champions League match, not an SPL match. That particular injury kept him out until the end of the season and his form was indifferent for a long period after that. That’s one good season and two indifferent ones.

        He then transferred to Hannover where he spent most of his time hurt.

        DMB is just not exactly a rugged kind of guy and there is little evidence that the SPL made him that way.

        Like

      • beachbum

        well, at least Johannson is white so he won’t have his car firebombed, presumably

        Like

      • Platonias

        Lol, he should’ve gone to Celtic.

        It’s funny the way the world works. That was with him playing for Rangers too. Usually, when you play for a club with racists, I’m sorry ultras, your accepted. He must of had a bad game

        Like

  • Brett

    Why are people reacting as if AJ is seeking the move? It can’t hurt him to have a team interested in him. Celtic know their league is excrement. If they’re looking at him it is for Champions League purposes, and Celtic play Champions League every year. The SPL isn’t attractive but it is, like MLS, a physical and tactically sound, if unexciting, league. His move wouldn’t give us the attractive goal numbers he gets in Holland, but I doubt it would set him back unless he were to suffer the dreaded SPL injury “bug”. Showing well in the Champions League would definitely draw more interest than would his continued success in Holland.

    Like

  • Paul H

    What happened to Cervi? He seems to have completely disappeared since getting dropped by Celtic.

    Like

    • Helium-3

      His agent probably is useless and can’t get him a gig.

      If I were him, I would try to play in Mexico, South America , 2nd tier Portugal/Spain. Even
      J-league would be a possibility. Pretty sure he would get 100k at a minimum in any of those places.

      Come on, a guy with Celtic on his resume can’t get a shot anywhere else?

      Like

      • freddie sharkey

        if you look through the history books that will tell you once you have played for Celtic you will fit into any top league

        Like

      • Drewbles

        And then came back every year. I wouldn’t mind if you left the US though.

        Like

      • Joe Brown

        Current U.S. law means that anyone who happens to be born here, even if it’s on the airport tarmac while transferring flights, is granted U.S. citizenship automatically. Most, if not all, countries including Mexico and all the countries of Europe and Central & South America, require that one parent is a citizen (not resident) in order to grant citizenship to the child. 200 years ago when the U.S. was trying to fill up the expanding frontier, the law might have worked to that end, but now it just serves as a carrot for illegal immigrants to come have anchor babies, which can later be used to get green cards for the extended family, The reason that the law persists is that corporations love it. A massive supply of illegal immigrants work for less, don’t complain about poor conditions, and lower the wages for everyone else in those industries. The dude is a citizen by law, but he is more tourist than resident. My guess is it’s about the money, just like the Icelandic FA said. He seems like a nice guy though, nothing against him. Unfortunately, the law in the US that allows him to be a citizen is the same law that causes the massive illegal immigration that benefits the corporations while the Govt. uses your tax money to support non-citizens. US citizens subsidize non-citizens and the corporations that benefit from the illegal workforce. If you thinks that’s a good thing, you’ve not paying attention to the reality of the world around you or you live in a comfortable bubble of liberal suburbia, where they love the brown folk, just as long as they keep mowing their lawns at the same price as they paid in 1979. And you can help the less fortunate, as long as they don’t move in next to you and lower your property values. REALITY

        Like

      • slowleftarm

        You guys are so sensitive about Johansson. You know it’s dubious for him to be playing for the USMNT, that’s why you get so upset when people mention he didn’t live in the US after the age of 1 or 2 or whatever.

        Like

      • Platonias

        No it’s because your trolling is prominently known throughout the cyberspace. There will be tales told of your existence. The slow one, master troll

        Like

  • Lost in Space

    As others have stated the SPL is not worth a damn. If he has the option he should stay with AZ or move to a league that is better/more well rounded.
    1) EPL, 2) Bundesliga, 3) Italy, 4) Spain, 5) France, 6) Stay in the Eredivisie

    Like

    • Drewbles

      I don’t think Celtic wants to give up their basically automatic entry into the Champions’ League.

      Like

      • Jeffrey

        Celtic and Rangers both wanted a move to the BPL a couple years back, it was the Premier league teams and the Championship teams that didn’t want it because of how would you fairly incorporate two “new” teams into the promotion/relegation table.
        As for Johannsson, being a Celtic fan I would love the move, as a US fan I think Germany would be more beneficial to him.

        Like

      • Increase

        My understanding is that when the BPL was first formed in the 1990s they had the option. I have no details about how or why but an football obsessed Englishman told me this.

        Like

      • Increase

        He is from Newcastle which is almost Scotland. Soo… maybe he might actually know something.

        Like

    • slowleftarm

      No way Premier League clubs will vote these overrated teams in, making it harder for them to avoid relegation, get into Europe etc.

      Like

      • freddie sharkey

        over rated over rated you really need to get a grip Glasgow Celtic are THE greatest club in the world ( my opinion ) also even though i loathe the huns (rangers{sorry for swearing}) together they are the old firm greatest derby in the universe just ask any football pundit or manager outwith the old firm if you still don’t believe me ask rod Stewart,”SIR” billy Connolly, Tim healy, jimmy nail , Alex Ferguson , David moyes there is more but point made i feel also the epl has Swansea and Cardiff (welsh) not English but if or should i say when the old firm are requested into the epl it will enhance the epl just think about it

        Like

  • Tensnake

    I don’t think hes going to Celtic. Lennon really wants the striker from AZ, Sigthorsson I think? He just happened to have inquire about AJ. No need to worry.

    Like

  • 2tone

    IF you want your club career to die do not go to Celtic. Eredivise is so much of a higher quality it’s not even funny. Stay at AZ all year, and after the WC see what clubs are really looking. Iceman is smart I don’t think he will go to Celtic.

    Like

    • freddie sharkey

      how dare you if he goes to Glasgow Celtic then he would be stepping up a level also don’t knock the greatest football club in the world

      Like

      • Platonias

        No matter how you see the quality of a league, it’s always better when you move up to a bigger club, and Celtic is surely that. The chance to tear it up in the champions league or the UEFA cup, is always the goal for a player because it leads to just more opportunities to move to the best of clubs in the best of leagues. But with that being said, the Scottish 1st division is quite physical and you have to be wary of possible long term injuries that could hurt your career, Beasley case in point. It would probably be best to see if he could make a move to England, Germany or Italy if someone shows heavy interest and he’s guaranteed playing time. Otherwise, he should go to France or any other team in constant European competition. Celtic, Galatasary, Benfica, Olympiakos etc.

        Like

      • freddie sharkey

        point of fact Celtic is in the premiership (Scottish) then comes the championship (old division 1) then leagues 1&2 (formally 3& 4)

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli - Platonias

        I didn’t mean it in name, but 1st, as in top level.

        Like

    • Truth

      Good point, if you want your career to die, do not go to Celtic because if you go there, play well and get exposure from the Champions League then you could get bought by an EPL team just like Wanyama and Hooper did last year.

      Like

  • freddie sharkey

    MLS is better than the SPFL don’t really think so Celtic might be the only real team there but at least we are getting bloody good coverage via TV newspapers also the best supported club i do enjoy the odd game from the MLS also Spain Italy and Germany but the fans seem to be subdewed unlike the Celtic support you certainly know we are there also we have won several awards

    Like

    • Mueller

      There are more fans and publicity in Scotland, but the league seems like its Celtic and a few pub league teams. They need to get Rangers. At least that way the winner of the league won’t be decided before the season starts.

      Like

      • freddie sharkey

        cannot argue with that point but surely the likes of the Aberdeen Dundee utd hearts hibs and the rest need to pull up there socks start bleeding youngsters and encouraging them to play like lional messi samaras stokes and the like to try and persuade them to play as if the ball is tied to their boot laces unfortunately they cannot spend money they don’t posses thus the Celtic,s and huns when they had status where the only 2 clubs in Scotland that could afford the overseas players so in Scotland you could say the league is over before it starts only which of the old firm takes the title

        Like

      • Mueller

        I am surprised some of the foreign money that is running rampant in England and other leagues hasn’t spread to Scotland. Especially now that Rangers is down, if you had the money, you could buy Hearts, Motherwell, etc and with 100 million in you would just have to beat Celtic to get in the in the Champions League.

        Like

      • Platonias

        I think though with the fall of Rangers the hope is that the domestic league will become stronger now. the other teams have always acted essentially as feeder clubs to the to the English 2nd and 3rd divisions and the Glasgow clubs. Aberdeen, Hearts etc. all have great academy’s but don’t have the money to hold on to exceptional talents and you see their best players being sold for less then 500 thou. I don’t know if foreign investers are the answer, but it would surely help if other teams did well in the champions league and UEFA cup. Motherwell seems to be doing well. It’ll be curious to see how that goes.

        Like

  • Primoone

    I love it when folks make statements such as…MLS is Better than…

    MLS has made great strides since the inaugural season however, how do you quantify our league is better than SPLF? In what respect is MLS better? Just because Celtic and Rangers (when they were in the top) always finished 1&2 the assumption is that teams 3-whatever were all garbage and could not compete with MLS teams…

    Like

  • Eric

    Look at the FIFA power rankings. Celtic has to play in every year because the SPL is not rated very high. Would they be a good addition to the FA? Absolutely. Could you imagine Arsenal, Man U, City, Chelsea,etc going to Parkheadevery year? That would be amazing.

    Like

    • freddie sharkey

      true and there would never be an empty seat at any ground however i think with sky bt sport ESPN paying for TV rights it will only be a matter of time

      Like

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