The Rumour Mill: Wednesday’s football news and gossip
IN TODAY’S Rumour Mill: Celtic miss out on Newcastle striker but may still get Spaniard; Craig Whyte hits back at criticism; Hibs bring in four players to bolster squad; plus a roundup of yesterday’s deadline day transfers and the rest of the day’s football news and gossip
There was late drama at Parkhead last night as CELTIC tried and failed to bring in Newcastle striker Leon Best on loan, with the English side wanting the forward to move on a permanent deal or not at all. Best, who has had fleeting appearances in the Newcastle first team this season is said to be prepared to fight for his place at the club. With rumours that Neil Lennon was working his way through a list, in the hopes of adding to the signings of Mikael Lustig, Rabiu Ibrahim and Pawel Brozek, the club ended the transfer window with no further deals being made. Real Betis striker Jorge Molina was the subject of a failed bid, but the player could move to Glasgow in the summer if the price is right. The player’s agent claimed that Celtic had made a late bid on Tuesday that had been knocked back by Real Betis, but the player is said to be keen on a move to Glasgow. (Daily Record)
• Zenit St Petersburg and CSKA Moscow are tracking Celtic forward Gary Hooper. The Parkhead side have already turned down two bids of up to £6 million from English side Southampton but are only too aware of the financial influence of the Russian sides, having sold winger Aiden McGeady to Spartak Moscow for £10 million.
• Lokomotiv Moscow are planning a move for Hooper’s strike partner Anthony Stokes, with the Russian side able to sign the Irish forward at any point during February as their transfer window remains open until the end of the month. The big-spending Russians are ready to offer £4 million for Stokes, having taken current Hibs forward Garry O’Connor to the club in 2006.
• Celtic youngsters Paul Slane and Lewis Toshney signed short-term loan deals with MK Dons and Kilmarnock respectively.
• The club have also signed Polish defender Jaroslaw Fojut on a pre-contract agreement. He will move to Parkhead during the close season when his contract with Polish Ekstraklasa side Slask Wroclaw runs out.
RANGERS chairman Craig Whyte wrote an open letter to the Ibrox club’s fans yesterday, refuting allegations made about the club’s financial situation and explaining the reasoning behind Nikica Jelavic’s move to Everton. In the letter, which can be viewed in full on The Scotsman website, Whyte states that: ‘The reality of Jelavic’s departure is two-fold. One, the player wanted to leave and there is no point in trying to keep a player who no longer wants to be at Ibrox. Two, the Club is simply not in a financial position to turn down offers for players which give the Club a good return on its original investment.’
• The Ibrox side also had a bid for Norwich City striker Grant Holt turned down yesterday, as they sought a replacement for the departed Jelavic. However, the window closed with no additional signings for Rangers. (Various)
• Australian midfielder Matt McKay, who has failed to make an impact at Ibrox, making just two starts since his arrival from Brisbane Roar, has rejected loan moves to South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, his former club admitted they were monitoring the player’s situation but weren’t interested in taking him back on loan. Cameroonian international striker Matthew Mbuta arrived at Murray Park yesterday on a week’s trial, and is thought to be keen on a move to Scotland. (Daily Express)
On a deadline day when there was little transfer activity in Scotland, HIBERNIAN boss Pat Fenlon added to his squad by tying up Gambian left back Pa Saikou Kujabi on an 18-month contract, and bringing in Rangers target Jorge Claros, Coventry City attacker Roy O’Donovan and Wolves defender Matt Doherty on loan to bolster his squad. The Easter Road side also made an offer for Scunthorpe’s Northern Irish midfielder Michael O’Connor that was turned down. (Various)
Defender Michael Hart and striker Akpo Sodje both left the club by mutual consent following agreements to terminate their contracts. (The Scotsman)
There were no incoming signings at Tynecastle, but HEARTS forward Rudi Skacel signed an extension to his contract that will keep him at the club until the end of the season. David Templeton, Marian Kello and Marius Zaliukas were linked with moves away from the club that came to nothing, with defender Ryan McGowan posting a picture on Twitter showing team mate Templeton tied up like a hostage, poking fun at the rumours.
• Meanwhile, want-away midfielder Ryan Stevenson completed his move to Championship side Ipswich Town earlier this week, although did not feature in his new club’s 5-1 demolition of league leaders West Ham United last night.
• The club also released defender Conrad Balatoni, and striker Rob Ogleby moved to Blue Square Premier leaders Wrexham.
• Striker Evaldas Razulis made his loan to Lithuanian side FBK Kaunas permanent, whilst highly-rated winger Jamie Walker extended his loan spell at Raith Rovers.
DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC were given a boost in their chances to beat the drop, with the signing of Rangers youngster Kyle Hutton. The player extended his contract at Ibrox, and will join the Pars until the end of the season in order to get more games under his belt. The East End Park side also signed Jordan McMillan from the Ibrox side on a free transfer.
• Former club captain John Potter has been allowed to join up again with Gus MacPherson at Queen of the South. Potter, 32, joined Dunfermline following his release from St Mirren, making 19 appearances for the Fife side.
ABERDEEN brought in Nigerian striker Daniel Uchechi, who has signed on an initial deal until the end of the season, with the Pittodrie side having the option for a further 18-month deal on the player, who was signed from Nigerian side FC Dender.
• Fraser Fyvie refused to sign an extension to his contract at Aberdeen, which runs out in December of this year. Although his refusal to extend his contract would mean Aberdeen would get less money for the player, the club today vowed not to lose Fyvie on the cheap. (various)
DUNDEE UNITED brought in just the one player as the deadline approached, with striker Milos Lacny signing on loan from Sparta Prague. Lacny, a former target for Celtic, has signed a 12-month loan deal with the Tannadice side. Lacny joins up with fellow countrymen Dusan Pernis and Filip Mentel at United.
ST JOHNSTONE extended the contract of defender Steven Anderson, the longest-serving player at the Perthshire club, until 2014. The Saints also managed to hold on to in-demand striker Francisco Sandaza and club captain Jody Morris, both of whom were linked with moves to Bristol City to join up with former boss Derek McInnes. James Keatings of Celtic and Kudus Oyenuga of Tottenham joined the club earlier in the window.
• Meanwhile, striker Sean Higgins has joined Ayr United on loan. Higgins signed a two-year deal last summer but has found first team appearances limited at McDiarmid Park.
Jamie Murphy is still a MOTHERWELL player, despite the Fir Park side agreeing a fee with Blackpool for the player. Murphy turned down a move to the English Championship and tweeted last night that he is looking forward to the rest of the season.
• Steven Howarth today left the Steelmen after finding himself down the pecking order at Fir Park, with six strikers preferred ahead of him including Michael Higdon, Henrik Ojamaa and Omar Daley.
KILMARNOCK enjoyed a relatively quiet deadline day, having brought in Dieter van Tornhout from Nea Salamina, and Celtic’s Lewis Toshney on loan to bolster their squad. The two join Ben Gordon as the new boys at Rugby Park.
INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE midfielder Lee Cox completed his move to Swindon Town yesterday, for a fee reported to be in the region of £50,000. The 22-year-old made 82 appearances for the Highlanders, and signed a two and a half year deal at the County Ground. Terry Butcher had already signed Sam Winnell and Steve Williams on loan from Wolves and Bradford respectively, and Claude Gnakpa on a free from Walsall.
ST MIRREN made no additions to their squad on deadline day, with manager Danny Lennon confirming early on that there would be no more players coming in. The club added Hamilton Academical’s Dougie Imrie to their squad last week, and released Ilias Haddad, and loaned Jon McShane to Hamilton. Joe McKee returned to Burnley following his loan spell.
In the First Division, FALKIRK earned a potential £750,000 windfall as they sold Murray Wallace and Kallum Higginbotham to Huddersfield Town. The Galpharm club, who signed Scott Arfield from the Bairns in 2010, beat off competition from other clubs including Ipswich and Brighton to snap up Wallace, who was also interesting Rangers and Celtic. Wallace will be loaned back to the club after an initial £300,000 switch, plus a series of add-ons, whilst Higginbotham was reported to have joined Huddersfield after Falkirk accepted a ‘six-figure bid’ for the former Rochdale striker.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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