The 32-year-old has previously plied his trade for Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich City among other clubs.
Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters have initiated talks with English forward and Wellington Phoenix player Gary Hooper, Khel Now can reveal. The club are actively looking for a foreign striker to bolster their attacking department and Hooper is one of the few options that have been shortlisted.
“Kerala Blasters have begun talks with Gary Hooper in a bid to sign him. The club have considered his profile for the shortlisted options in attack and have been negotiating with him to reach an agreement,” a source close to the developments informed Khel Now. It is worth noting that the club have considered other players as well, but Hooper is understood to be one of the preferred options at the moment.
The 32-year-old centre-forward currently plies his trade with Wellington Phoenix, a club from the Australian A-League. He made 21 league appearances in the recently concluded 2019-20 season. He also played a key role in the club’s third-place finish by netting eight goals and providing five assists. This was one of Phoenix’s best-ever seasons till date, as they reached the first round of the A-League finals series — and it could have been even better had the player not gotten ruled out in their last two matches due to a hamstring injury.
Prior to his stint with Phoenix that started in October 2019, Gary Hooper played for a host of clubs, including the then Premier League side Norwich City along with Sheffield Wednesday, Celtic, Leyton Orient, and so on. The best phase of his career was between 2010 and 2013, when he recorded over 80 goals and 30 assists in more than 130 appearances for Celtic. He also lifted the Scottish Premiership with them twice.
The striker has the unique distinction of being the first and only player so far to score in the Premier League, EFL Championship, EFL League One, EFL League Two, FA Cup, English League Cup, Football League Trophy, FA Trophy, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Premiership. Overall, he has made close to 500 club appearances and has notched over 200 goals.
The 2020-21 ISL season is around the corner and clubs are busy with new signings, contract extensions, staff appointments and so on. Kerala Blasters are no exception, having already announced the signings of Albino Gomes, Nishu Kumar, Rohit Kumar and so on, while also extending the deals of Sahal Abdul Samad, Abdul Hakku, Jessel Carneiro and others. The two-time ISL finalists are still in the process of completing a squad overhaul, so as to put an end to their poor form in the last three seasons.
The final decision on Gary Hooper will be made by Sporting Director Karolis Skinkys and head coach Kibu Vicuna. it remains to be seen what conclusion they arrive at regarding his potential signing.