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Rumor: Red Bulls close to move for Celtic striker Patryk Klimala

22-year-old cost Scottish giants $5 million just a year ago and is extensively capped with Poland youth national teams

St. Johnstone v Celtic - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images

Are the New York Red Bulls grabbing yet another player from the green side of Glasgow?

After signing young Americans Cameron Harper and Andrew Gutman from Celtic last month, rumors are swirling overseas that New York is close to a deal to sign Polish youth international Patryk Klimala from the Scottish giants. According to Alison McConnell of The Times, he is “linked in the United States this week with a move to [the] New York Red Bulls.” The 22-year-old striker has made 27 total appearances since signing last January, scoring four goals. Reports this week have stated he has not been present at training.

A departure would come as no surprise, with his inability to score consistently possibly necessitating a new environment. Interestingly enough, the rumor appears to have first appeared on the Kerry Dale Street message board. User “The moch” posted the following cryptic message indicating a move to New York:

“ start spreading the news.....”

Klimala joined the Scottish giants in January 2020 from Jagiellonia Białystok of the Polish Ekstraklasa. He’s scored three goals in a little over a year, but there’s a general belief that the young player has yet to receive the right opportunities at a flagging Celtic. With manager Neil Lennon sacked last month and head of football operations Nick Hammond recently departing, the club is in full rebuild mode, and this is one of the first of many dominoes to fall.

The native of Świdnica began his career with Legia Warsaw, a tumultuous tenure involving a failed switch to right back and a rough adjustment process exacerbated by big city living. Klimala returned to the friendlier confines of local outfit Lechia Dzierżoniów before latching onto Jagiellonia Białystok, where he impressed in the youth setup with his athleticism and technique in the box. A loan down the pyramid to Wigry Suwałki provided the opportunity to score 13 goals in 28 appearances and mature as a player.

In 2019, he helped lead Białystok to a runners-up finish in the Polish Cup, scoring twice in the quarterfinal round against Odra Opole. The next half-season was the breakout, finding the back of the net seven times in 15 Ekstraklasa matches, named the league’s Best Youth Player for October of 2019. Amid interest from Genoa and Copenhagen, Klimala joined Celtic for a reported £ 3.5 million fee during the January transfer window.

The young Polish striker admitted struggling to adapt to his new club, a “raw talent” that was not quite ready for the rigors of the Scottish Premier League. He used the quarantine lockdown to “bulk up,” a decision that led to increased playing time when matches resumed. The 2020-21 season got off to a solid start with three goals, but as Celtic’s fortunes fell, so did Klimala’s. The Bhoys are looking for a refresh of sorts, likely hoping to bring in a host of new talents and discard those not performing at a superlative level.

This would be a curious signing for the Red Bulls, as the club continues to acquire players both on full transfers and loans. Klimala is a talented striker who was caught up in the current drama at Celtic, constantly growing and overcoming the personal and professional challenges that are faced by many young players. If the rumor of his signing is true, this would be the third acquisition from the Scottish club in this window. Perhaps this is a short-term raid of a club in crisis rather than the beginning of any type of transfer relationship, but either way the Red Bulls front office has focused in on the Lennoxtown Training Centre as a source of overlooked talent.