Howe 'ready to raid Bournemouth for Cook when he becomes Celtic boss'
Eddie Howe ‘ready to raid old side Bournemouth for captain Steve Cook and technical director Richard Hughes when he takes over at Celtic’… as he eyes summer overhaul in a bid to get Bhoys back above rivals Rangers
- Eddie Howe parted company with Bournemouth in July following relegation
- He had secured two promotions during his second spell in charge of the club
- Howe is set to take over at Celtic and has earmarked Steve Cook as a key signing
- Cook has made 376 appearances for the Cherries and is now their captain
- Technical director Richard Hughes is also someone Howe wants to bring in
- Celtic need centre-back reinforcements and have struggled badly this season
Eddie Howe has reportedly made his old Bournemouth defensive stalwart Steve Cook and Cherries technical director Richard Hughes key summer transfer targets as he looks set to take over at Celtic with the task of toppling newly crowned champions Rangers and re-establishing the team’s dominance in Scotland.
Howe parted company with the club after their relegation from the Premier League following five years in the top flight.
The 43-year-old is now being lined up to succeed Neil Lennon and wants Cook, who is out of contract in the summer, to make the move north of the border, according to The Scottish Sun.
It is looking increasingly likely that Eddie Howe will be the man to take over as Celtic boss
Howe is reportedly looking to sign his former centre back at Bournemouth Steve Cook
Centre back Cook was signed permanently by Bournemouth in January 2012 following a brief loan spell when they were in League One, nine months before Howe rejoined the South Coast club following an unsuccessful stint at Burnley.
Cook quickly became an established member of the side and was a key figure as Bournemouth gained promotions in 2013 and 2015 to reach the promised land.
In total, Cook has made 376 appearances for Bournemouth, scoring 21 times, including the equaliser in a thrilling 4-3 comeback against Liverpool in 2016 as the Reds crumbled after leading 3-1.
Cook’s standing at the club has continued to improved despite Howe’s departure and under Howe’s successor Jason Tindall, the 29-year-old was made captain, a role has continued under new boss Jonathan Woodgate as Bournemouth sit one point off the Championship play-offs with a game in hand on sixth-placed Reading.
Celtic meanwhile are in desperate need of centre-half reinforcements as they look to regain their Scottish Premiership title next season, with Frenchman Christopher Jullien possibly out for nine months after sustaining a serious knee injury while clearing a ball off the line in the club’s last match of 2020 against Dundee United.
Christopher Jullien could be out for nine months after picking a serious injury in December
With former Brighton man Shane Duffy enduring a difficult first season at Celtic Park, caretaker manager John Kennedy is having to rely on an unfamiliar centre-back partnership of Norwegian Kristoffer Ajer and inexperienced 21-year-old Stephen Welsh.
Howe also wants Hughes to oversee a restructuring of football operations, but is prepared to stick with current first-team coaches John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan.
Having been touted for the Crystal Palace job, Howe’s next destination is now much more likely to be Glasgow than London after Celtic’s major shareholder Dermot Desmond promised to back him with funds during the upcoming transfer window.
Celtic have been well below their best this term as Rangers won the Scottish Premiership title
Celtic have struggled badly this season and were unable to win their tenth successive domestic title as Steve Gerrard’s men won at a canter.
The Hoops were also unable to defend their Scottish League Cup crown as they crashed out in the second round to Ross County, while they were also finished bottom of their Europa League group this season as Neil Lennon was given the boot in February after two years in charge during his second spell at the helm.
The team do at least have the possibility of retaining the Scottish Cup, with Saturday’s comfortable win over Scottish League One side Falkirk taking them through to the fourth round.
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