Tottenham Transfer News: Spurs Lead Race for Gary Hooper

Christopher Heathman@@CHeathmanCorrespondent IIJanuary 26, 2013

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 05:  Celtic striker Gary Hooper celebrates after scoring the first goal during the  UEFA Champions League Group G match between Celtic FC and FC Spartak Moscow at Celtic Park on December 5, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Tottenham are now leading the race to sign Celtic striker Gary Hooper in the January transfer window, according to reports.

The Celtic starlet is also wanted by Norwich City, who reportedly had a bid rejected of £5 million plus Steve Morison. Spurs have now reportedly pushed ahead of the Canaries to sign the forward, who Celtic value at around £7 million.

After scouting the forward during their 4-0 win over Dundee United, Tottenham have reportedly begun talks with Celtic and are understood to be close to a deal. 

Hooper has scored 13 goals in just 19 games in the Scottish Premier League this season, but his performances in the Champions League, which included three goals in the group stage, have caught the attention of  Premier League clubs.

A move to Tottenham instead of Norwich would not only mean that Hooper would play in the Premier League, but he would also have a shot at playing in the Champions League next season. The Celtic man is currently cup tied, but the former non-league player could be an asset for Spurs in the league.

Transferring to White Hart Lane and playing in the Barclays Premier League would complete an amazing seven years for the 24-year-old.

After beginning his career at Grays Athletic, Hooper moved to Southend United, where he had an indifferent career, including two loan moves away from Roots Hall. However, it was at the then-Championship club Scunthorpe United where the English striker shined. In his final season, he managed 33 goals in all competitions, attracting bigger clubs such as Celtic.

Also, in the Premier League, Gary Hooper could prove his worth to England manager Roy Hodgson. Striking places for the national side are currently up for grabs, and if he continues his impressive form, Hooper could find himself playing in the World Cup qualifiers.

As for Tottenham, the squad is currently short of striking options. With only Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor in the team, Hooper would be a valuable addition, as Spurs look to finish in the top four.