When John Guidetti put pen to paper on a five-year contract with Celta Vigo last week it brought to an end the constant speculation which had been surrounding the Swedish striker throughout the summer.
Sevilla and Lazio were two clubs in particular who were linked with the forward but it was the team based in the north-west of Spain who went under the radar to complete the deal.
With Celta Vigo acquiring the Swede’s services, the club and their fans will be hopeful that he can assist with their goal of improving upon last seasons eighth placed finish, but who is he and what exactly will he add to their squad?
Despite only turning twenty three this year John Guidetti is a player who seems to have been in the consciousness of football fans for many years. Beginning his career as a talented youth product of IF Brommapojkarna in his homeland it was no surprise that his ability alerted many clubs from throughout Europe.
In 2008, Manchester City would eventually win the battle for his signature which appeared to be a smart move due to his fellow countrymen Sven-Goran Eriksson being the manager at the time. Strong showings for Manchester City’s youth teams led to fans rightly being excited at the potential of the clubs new young striker but the hype that was being created was soon to be a problem for John Guidetti.
By the time the year 2010 had arrived Manchester City were evolving into a very different football club to the one Guidetti had joined. With new ownership determined to make Manchester City one of the biggest teams in the world and with three different managers in a short space of time it seemed that although very highly thought of by everyone there didn’t seem to be a pathway available for him towards the first team
This led to short term loan deals at his former club in Sweden and at Burnley and despite being valuable exercises in terms of experience neither spell produced enough evidence to suggest that he could command a prominent role upon his return. There was an element of validity to the hype but not enough evidence had yet been seen.
The opportunity that Guidetti had been desperate to receive was soon to be delivered to him when in 2011 Feyenoord offered him the chance to be able to showcase his talent over the course of a one year loan deal. The move turned out to be the perfect fit for both the club and the player.
Feyenoord needed a goal scorer and Guidetti got to play in the Eredivisie which is considered to be one of the best developmental leagues in the world. John Guidetti thrived in this environment and it was in the Netherlands that fans got to observe his confident personality for the first time.
It was also in Rotterdam that he experienced being a hero to thousands. The crowd at the De Kuip idolised him and that feeling only grew stronger with every strike of the ball which hit the back of the net, including a hat-trick against rivals Ajax.
With 20 goals scored and the end of the season in sight Guidetti was dealt a blow when he was affected by an illness which unknown to him at the time would see him unable to perform at his optimum level for the next eighteen months. Despite not being able to play in the seasons remaining games an emotional goodbye was given to the fans that were desperate for him to return.
After recovering from a virus which compromised his nervous system a short loan spell at Stoke followed. Despite working with Mark Hughes who was his former manager at Manchester City the move turned out to be uneventful and unproductive.
It wasn’t until the beginning of last season when he agreed a season long loan spell at Celtic that it appeared that his career was properly getting back on track. Similar to the situation at Feyenoord the club were on the lookout for a goal scorer and the player needed a surrounding which he could be confident of succeeding within.
During the initial three months of his stay at Celtic he couldn’t stop scoring and it seemed it as though no one could call a halt to his progress. Once again John Guidetti was receiving the high level of adulation that he craves and the Celtic fans were enjoying his output on the pith in addition to his creative goal celebrations.
Everything seemed to be going so smoothly but from November of last year through to end the of the season a flaw was exposed in John Guidetti’s character, he doesn’t react well to not being the centre of attention. As the months passed by the fans began to feel as if the strikers commitment was on the wane.
His manager Ronny Deila also became frustrated when his attempts to convince him to sign a permanent deal were unsuccessful which then led to Guidetti being phased out of the starting line-up and sometimes not even make the bench. This was an unthinkable circumstance in relation to how his Celtic career had started.
Perhaps if Guidetti had been more publicly honest with his intentions not to stay at Celtic the fans might have had more consideration for the inevitable. Although he did score a fantastic equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Inter Milan at Celtic Park, when he made his departure from the club not many supporters could remember what all the excitement in the fist half of the season was about.
As his Celtic loan ended his Manchester City contract also reached its completion as well and this allowed Celta Vigo to sign him without having to pay a transfer fee. With the duration of the contract for five years it brings security for both parties but what can Guidetti, who has just won the European U21 Championship with his country, add to Celta Vigo’s squad?
One thing he has proved is that he is capable of producing the spectacular and impressive free kick goals in the recent past against Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and Greece’s u21 team are proof of this. Despite not being the fastest player when things are going well for him he is prepared to work hard to provide assists and offer good movement in addition to providing the necessary guile to deceive opponents.
The problem that might await Guidetti is that Celta Vigo are a club which will be predicted to finish in mid table. Teams that end their season in this position generally need a striker who is prepared to act unselfishly and give up personal glory for the betterment of the team.
The evidence gathered in his career so far suggests that this will be a struggle for him so it will be interesting to witness how his time in Spain will pan out.
Although quite clearly a player that has something different to offer the teams he plays for the hype which surrounds Guidetti still stems from one good season at Feyenoord. Joining a club in as good of a league as La Liga is defiantly not a bad move but I wonder if it’s the right move for him especially as he has time on his side by only being twenty three.
For a player who loves to be loved maybe it would have been better for him if he had committed his future to a traditionally big club in a smaller league. Doing this would not only have given him the opportunity to be the star of the team but would also have given him the space to mature into a more well rounded performer before moving onto play in one Europe‘s major leagues.
John Guidetti definitely has ability but he still has a lot to learn before he can become a hero for Celta Vigo.