Should Celtic persist with mis-firing £5million striker Albian Ajeti or cut their losses?

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Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou has tasked the Swiss international to lead his side’s frontline in recent weeks

Expectation levels were high when Albian Ajeti arrived at Parkhead last summer on a four-year-deal after Celtic stumped up £5million for the Swiss striker.

However, his performances since returning to Ange Postecoglou’s side this season due to their current shortage of attacking options leave much to be desired.

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It’s fair to say Ajeti’s time in Glasgow has been major disappointment with the former West Ham United man failing to nail down a regular starting spot.

With Odsonne Edouard leaving for a crack at the English Premier League, Kyogo Furuhashi recovering from a knee injury and Giorgos Giakoumakis still to make his Hoops debut, Ajeti has been the player tasked to lead the frontline in recent weeks with no other options at their disposal.

In his ten appearances across all competitions this season, the mis-firing frontman has notably struggled in front of goal.

That was evident against on Sunday as he missed an open goal from just a couple of yards out during their 1-1 draw with Dundee United.

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Ajeti’s contribution to Postecoglou’s team has under the microscope with club legend Pat Bonner insisting his work rate off the ball is not good enough.

He told BBC Sportsound: “If he’s not scoring goals, what else is he doing? That’s the problem. What else is he doing? How does he lend himself to the team?

“Is he making those little runs away pulling people out of position?

“I think (David Turnbull ran forward maybe two or three times in the game from midfield into areas where maybe you can play ball over the top and so on.

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“They’re so reliant on the wingers now to be creative players. (Tom) Rogic with his dancing feet we know what he does around the edge of the box now, but that movement off the ball at times, just wasn’t happening.

“Ajeti’s maybe just given that instruction, ‘You stay in that position and leave the spaces for the wide men to exploit’. But they’re not doing it and if they’re not doing it then he looks as if he’s not doing any work.

“And he’s hoping that the balls going to come from the position where he can score a goal, walk off and say well I scored my goal I’m okay, it’s up to the rest of them to do the other piece of the work.”

Another former Celtic star, Frank MacAvennie, was of a similar opinion last week as he claimed Ajeti doesn’t have what it takes to be the club’s main striker.

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Speaking to Football Insider, Macca said: “I don’t think Ajeti is going to be number nine for Celtic. I just don’t see it.

“He doesn’t move enough. The way Celtic play with such high energy doesn’t suit him.

“Postecoglou will want him to do a lot more running and if he does that then it will only help Celtic. He has to do it every game though, he can’t just be a target man, he has to move.

“I watched him against Livingston, and I’m 61 and I could have covered more ground at pace than that.”

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Amid a chronic injury list, a hectic fixture schedule and their only fit striker evidently short of confidence, should Ange Postecoglou continue to persist with the stuttering Ajeti and start him during their Europa League tie against Bayer Leverkusen or somehow find another alternative?

Many Celtic supporters will feel he needs to muster up a much-improved display on Thursday night to save his Hoops career.

Here, we take a look at what Celtic fans have to say on Albian Ajeti:

Poggibonsi: “I’ve kept saying there’s a player in there and he would come good but clearly I’m kidding myself. This guy is up there with the worst signings we’ve made. Absolutely hopeless.”

Scotsahoy: “He’s just not got the game for our approach. He may be more suited to having another guy alongside him to work off but as a lone striker? Not for me.”

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PaulieWalnuts67: “We were actively trying to punt this clown for weeks during the transfer window. The manager didn’t bring him on when we were getting beat at Tynecastle and Ibrox. A completely useless player who’s only playing through necessity. Lazy as they come.”

Maleys Spirit: “Attacking nous, movement, will to win, aggression and killer instincts of a wheelie bin. Around 40 years of watching our strikers first-hand and he’s among the worst I’ve seen. I thought he was like an upgraded Morten Rasmussen, I’m doing Ras a disservice.

“Ajeti has the amazing ability to look surprised every time the ball comes near him, which it probably is when you do your best to hide behind a 16-year-old centre back. We could have signed half a dozen journeyman SPFL strikers for the same price and they would be more useful.”

Harris Tottle: “I’ve never seen a striker make so many poor decisions – it’s a choice between poor runs or no movement. Seen enough, don’t want to see him again.”

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44bhoy: “He’s so easy to play against. Doesn’t find space, can’t read the game, rarely gets in front or across his marker. Often in the same space as a team-mate usually not in front of goal.”

Harry501: “It’s more disappointing that we’re actually getting more goals in wide sides from (Liel) Abada and Jota. Ajeti has no pace, but plenty of intelligent penalty box strikers without pace would have got on the end of some of the crosses and cut backs on Sunday. The amount of times he ran into the same space as other players shows an acute lack of positioning as a forward.”

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