Virgil van Dijk wanted by Russians; Rangers board on brink of caving in over Union of Fans demands and Neil Lennon slips off Norwich radar as Mackay the favourite
Dynamo Moscow track van Dijk
CELTIC’S highly-rated defender Virgil van Dijk is reportedly a target for Russian outfit Dynamo Moscow.
The Dutch star’s agent has already indicated he expects van Dijk to move on from Celtic to the English Premier League after an excellent first season, but reports in the Netherlands suggest Dynamo have asked Celtic to ‘name a price’ for the 22-year-old centre-back, who is likely to be valued at around £8 million by Celtic.
Van Dijk was plucked from relative obscurity last summer by Lennon, who signed him from Groningen for a bargain £2.6 million - and van Dijk turned down a move to Russia before signing for Celtic, rejecting an offer from Kuban Krasnodar. (The Scotsman)
Rangers board ready to cave in to Union of Fans demands
RANGERS chief Graham Wallace is ready to provide legal protection over Ibrox that would prevent it being sold, in a bid to appease disgruntled supporters.
Wallace and the Ibrox board have been forced into the U-turn as a number of high profile former Rangers figures including Alex McLeish and Lorenzo Amoruso have backed calls for fans to pay season ticket money into the Ibrox 1972 trust fund.
Dave King, ex-Ibrox captain Richard Gough and the Union of Fans supporters’ group launched the fund to collect season ticket cash which would only be passed on if the club agreed to provide security that stops Rangers from selling or borrowing money against Ibrox and Murray Park.
The club had initially refused the demands but appear to have changed their stance. The Union of Fans met with Wallace yesterday, who revealed in a statement that Wallace had agreed to consider a legally binding undertaking protecting Ibrox from being sold.
The statement read: “A proposal was made by Mr Wallace that whilst the board would not grant a security, they could consider giving a legally binding undertaking which would protect Ibrox from sale, sale and leaseback, or as any form of security for a loan or other finance.”
The supporters’ coalition welcomed the move but demanded similar measures for the training complex before considering asking members to buy season tickets directly again.
The Union of Fans statement added: “We made it clear to Mr Wallace that we felt it was also appropriate that they provide the same undertaking for Murray Park.” (Daily Express)
Norwich cool Lennon interest
NORWICH City chiefs appear to have cooled their interest in Celtic manager Neil Lennon after ex-Cardiff manager Malky Mackay emerged as the favourite to take the reins at Carrow Road.
Canaries chief David McNally is keen to approach Celtic - with whom he did commercial work with in the past - with a view to holding talks with Lennon about the Norwich hotseat.
But ousted Cardiff City boss Mackay appears to top the list of candidates to replace the departed Chris Hughton, with reports the 42-year-old held talks at Carrow Road yesterday.
Lennon, who has a rolling one-year contract at Celtic Park, would require permission to speak to the recently-relegated East Anglian side, and would be reluctant to go down that route in the event he was unsuccessful, thus putting himself in a difficult position at Celtic. (Daily Mail)
Dundee United look to tie pair up on new deals
DUNDEE United chiefs are desperate to sit down with Gary Mackay-Steven and Paul Paton in a bid to thrash out new deals with the pair.
Mackay-Steven has a year left on his contract and has been offered a 12-month extension while Paton has two years left but United want to keep him at Tannadice until summer 2017.
Ahead of the Scottish Cup final, Mackay-Steven added: “We had talks but I said I wanted to leave things until the end of the season.
“I want to concentrate on my football and we’ll get back round the table.”
The duo have been in sparkling form for United this year, and could join seven of their team-mates including Nadir Ciftci and Stuart Armstrong in pledging their futures to United. (Daily Express)
Aberdeen target Shinnie
ABERDEEN have added Inverness left back Graeme Shinnie to their wanted list this summer, as the Dons look to build on a successful season.
Derek McInnes has also been linked with Partick full-back Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, as Aberdeen look to build on League Cup success and narrowly missing out on second in the Premiership.
It is believed McInnes has been given a larger budget in order to cement their return to Scottish football’s upper echelons. (The Sun)
Thommo back for vital play-off games
HIBERNIAN midfielder Kevin Thomson has vowed to guide Hibs to Premiership safety after declaring himself fit to face either Falkirk or Hamilton in the play-offs.
Thomson, who missed the last two games of the season after sustaining a thigh injury, has said he is ‘confident’ of being fit for the play-off.
And the former Rangers midfielder added: “The fans have been absolutely brilliant all season and have backed the team throughout, but now we need their support more than ever.” (Various)
McInnes a target for West Brom
DEREK McInnes has emerged as a surprise front-runner for the West Bromwich Albion job, along with Gianfranco Zola and Oscar Garcia.
Pepe Mel was sacked after a short spell as manager despite the Baggies retaining English Premier League status, and Hawthorns bosses are believed to be keen on appointing the right man to replace the Spaniard. (Daily Express)