It’s easy to think that Scotland’s James McFadden is in the twilight of his career.
Released by Birmingham at the end of last season, the Scottish maverick has become the forgotten man following Scotland’s Euro 2012 campaign, barely featuring in the squads run to 3rd place.
However, in typical McFadden style he has returned to the headlines conspicuously over his proposed move to Celtic.
Again, it would be easy to think that McFadden is approaching the end of his time as a football player.
After breaking on to the SPL scene as a raw striker for Motherwell, moves to Everton and Birmingham have seen him establish himself as a Premiership player.
The surprising truth is McFadden is only 28 and despite numerous injuries, his most recent cruciate ligament damage, he is still a fantastic player.
What would he give to Celtic though?
A much needed quality and inspiration in the final third which has benefitted all of his previous clubs, not to mention Scotland on the international stage.
McFadden is notoriously flamboyant in his play and strikes against France and Holland assured him a place in Scottish football history.
Although chances to show this flamboyancy regularly in the Premiership came few and far between, McFadden has demonstrated he is proficient, equally as a striker and midfielder.
Scotland were often reliant on his link-up play and ability to score important goals, and long before Kenny Miller had any sort of international pedigree, McFadden carried the flag for Scotland.
Potentially he wouldn’t carry the brunt of the team’s goalscoring obligations as Hooper and Stokes are able to do this, however he would be able to provide a link in the final third.
This link would allow him to play with a freedom he enjoyed at Everton and with Scotland, utilising his eye for a pass, ability to create goals in big moments and a keen work ethic.
Celtic’s need to supplement the threat Gary Hooper poses is something Neil Lennon has to address, and the opportunity to sign McFadden out with the transfer window will presumably tempt the Celtic manager.
The recent draw at Kilmarnock, as well as defeats against Hearts and Rangers have only accelerated the need for something to lift both the fans and players.
So what next for McFadden?
If he signs for Celtic, it will undoubtedly be the biggest transfer of his career.
At the age of 28, a run of good injury free form could see the ex-Everton man give the green half of Glasgow a timely boost in the title race.
Not to mention it would benefit his international hopes. Certainly Craig Levein would welcome a cheeky playmaker like McFadden back to his squad to supplement the already blossoming options at his disposal.
First however, McFadden and Celtic must come to an agreement over, what one would presume to be, a substantial deal.
It is now up to Lennon and Peter Lawell to make the first move.
If it is to be believed that the striker has been offered a trial with the club, then it is a sad indictment of how Celtic has worked in the transfer market in the past 6 months.
Despite superb early signings such as Emilio Izaguirre, Gary Hooper, Beram Kayal and Joe Ledley, Lennon has followed these up with contrastingly poor captures.
Badr El-Kaddouri, Mo Bangura, Adam Matthews and Victor Wanyama have yet to show anything of promise.
So the opportunity for Lennon to sign a proven international Scottish striker for free is one which can’t be threatened by offering him merely a trial with the club.
Celtic would represent McFadden with the opportunity to finish his career at a top club, competing for trophies and playing in Europe every season.
Soon enough then, the inspiration which Scotland badly needed in the Euro 2012 campaign could make a return for our huge World Cup bid.