A LOT of focus has been shifted onto the January transfer window - and rightly so. It is an absolutely pivotal phase two of the Ange Postecoglou-fronted Celtic rebuild.

But January can also be a time to look even further ahead, to the end of the season and who can be tied down on a pre-contract without a pesky transfer fee to negotiate.

Kyogo Furuhashi's recent injury exposed the need for more options up front - even in spite of the recent signing of Giorgos Giakoumakis - and whether you fall into the camp of 'Albian Ajeti will come good' or expect him to be wandering around in pastures new by the time the warm weather returns, an additional centre forward would only strengthen the squad.

With that in mind - and given we're currently in that peculiar period between the end of the international break and the full-on resumption of domestic matters - The Celtic Way has rifled through our big book of free agents to scout out a potential pre-contract recruit: Rapid Vienna striker Ercan Kara.

So who is he?

After years of signing teenagers, the 25-year-old now fits the bill for Celtic's apparent target market while he is also on an upward trend career-wise.

Somewhat of a late bloomer, Kara started his career at SK Slovan-Hütteldorfer AC. After scoring more than 30 goals in the 2013-14 season he moved on to Austria Vienna II, FC Mauerwerk and SV Horn.

A blistering start to life with the latter side - 15 goals in 18 matches - led to a step up from the 2. Liga to the Austrian Bundesliga as Rapid came calling midway through the campaign.

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Three goals in nine games in the Austrian capital was followed by a 20-goal haul in his first full season and a call-up to the national side in March this year. Since the start of the new season, the 25-year-old has scored eight goals and laid on three assists for club and country in 1,687 minutes (roughly the equivalent of 18 matches).

Kara was linked with EFL Championship side Luton Town in the summer for around £3million but is out of contract at the end of the season. His current salary is reported to be in the mid-to-low four-figure range, indicating a relatively modest layout for a club of Celtic's resources.

What does he bring to the table?

Statistically, Kara's physicality stands out as his main asset. At 6ft 4in and over 13 stone he has a robust mien and this is often reflected in his all-round play.

Determined and unafraid of a tussle though he may be, any perception of Kara as an old-fashioned target man seems unfair. He is by no means immobile, for starters, and he also scores various types of goals.

In the video above there are right-foot finishes, left-foot finishes and headed finishes but perhaps more importantly also indications that he does not mind playing off the shoulder of the last defender or receiving the ball in a crowded penalty area.

And while the vast majority of his goals do come inside the box though he has shown the odd capability to strike a pearler - for instance, his pair of 30-yarders against Wolfsberger and Liberec - while his flicked finish against Tirol stands out as particularly imaginative. He also occasionally takes penalties and possesses a conversion rate of 82 per cent (scoring nine of 11).

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Kara's progress to top-level football may have been delayed but he has already shown an aptitude for European games with six goals and an assist in 16 matches across the Champions League and Europa League.

Other than goals...

In general, Kara's assist record is decent and, although it must be noted he relies heavily on his physicality to fashion chances (even those he lays on for his team-mates) he nonetheless retains an element of ingenuity in his locker too.

Both facets of his play combined against LASK in July when, just eight minutes into the match, Kara chased down a high pass by putting the defender, who he had noticed was totally preoccupied with contemplating the flight of the ball, under pressure.

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He then uses his considerable strength to brush the opponent aside before doing the same with the other centre-back.

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Now in possession but still with his back to goal, it would be easy to try to lay it off or even to take the snapshot with the keeper already quite slow to react to the failures of his defenders.

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Instead Kara had the vision and, let's face it, the cheek to backheel a pass through the second centre-back's legs for his waiting Rapid team-mate Taxiarchis Fountas to tap home. 'We don't stop' indeed.

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There are, however, some concerns. His raw goal tally is impressive but the fact his xG value is so much higher suggests Kara should score more from the chances he gets. Contrast this to Kyogo, who has outperformed his expected return when playing as a central striker by almost 11 goals the past few years.

Like with the signing of Giorgos Giakoumakis this summer, there would be some question marks over Kara's relative inability to carry the ball effectively when in possession - he makes less than one progressive run per game - while his passing accuracy is more akin to a player like Ajeti than Kyogo.

Additionally, Kara is thriving in a team that may be used to winning but does not quite stylistically mesh with what he would face at Celtic.

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Rapid rack up only 51 per cent possession in Austria on average despite being one of the premier teams in the country. Likewise, they play 53 long balls per game which is almost double that of possession-centric Celtic (27).

But Kara would, you feel, enjoy having the opportunity to get on the end of one of the 24 crosses per game that Celtic whip in as opposed to Rapid's relatively miserly 14.

He is also used to playing in a team that presses fairly high. Rapid's 7.9 PPDA is not as impressive as Celtic's relentless 6.31 but it does demonstrate that Kara is used to playing in a side with good pressing capabilities, something absolutely vital to performing effectively under Ange Postecoglou.