Published On: Mon, May 25th, 2020

Celtic backed to complete transfer for star who has struggled since leaving Liverpool | Football | Sport

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Jordon Ibe could enjoy the kind of resurgence Scott Sinclair had in Scotland if he joins Celtic in the next transfer window, believes ex-Aberdeen and Leeds frontman Noel Whelan. Bournemouth have confirmed that Ibe will leave for nothing on June 30 at the end of his contract, despite having cost them a then-club record £15million in joining from Liverpool in 2016.

In four years at the Vitality Stadium, the 24-year-old has produced just five goals and nine assists in 92 appearances.

By contrast, he managed the same amount of goals in just 20 Championship appearances on loan at Derby in 2014.

Ibe was once a hugely-promising prospect and was highly regarded by Liverpool supporters at the time Raheem Sterling left for Manchester City in 2015, with it felt the ex-Wycombe trainee would fill the void.

The winger said last week on Twitter that he has “no regrets” about his struggles at the south coast club and added: “Just need to apply myself and work myself hard.”

And the England youth international has long been tipped to move north of the border to Parkhead to rediscover his form, much like Sinclair did.

Sinclair joined Manchester City from Swansea but spend time out on loan at West Brom and Aston Villa before joining the latter permanently.

The left-sided winger managed two goals in 27 Premier League games for Villa in 2015-16 but found his fortunes drastically improve in Scotland.

His first season at Celtic yielded 21 goals and eight assists in 35 Scottish Premiership matches and his time with the Glasgow giants produced 62 goals and 34 assists in 167 games across all competitions overall.

And Whelan believes Ibe could enjoy a similar recovery for the Hoops, who were crowned nine-in-a-row Scottish champions a week ago.

He said to Football Insider: “People will be working on recruitment behind the scenes.

“I am pretty sure he is a player that Neil Lennon can get the best out of. They did it with Scott Sinclair. He had a fantastic period there.

“They probably see him as a similar player but he needs to meet the expectations people had of him when he left Liverpool. He was a fantastic player but has never hit the heights that were expected from people.

“Celtic have managed to create a great environment to be around, a winning environment.

“He will feel wanted there but he needs to step into that role and prove a point if he makes the move. There is more in him so this is a really big decision for him.”

Former Aston Villa, Everton and Rangers striker Andy Gray said of Ibe’s decline on Keys & Gray: “It’s a huge fall.

“This young kid, he was so well thought of when he went to Bournemouth, I think Liverpool put a buy-back clause in.

“Because they thought he was going to reach heights; maybe not with them just then, but they wanted to have the ability to be first to buy him back.

“Let’s just say they are not exercising that buy-back.”

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