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Celtic set to tie up Stefan Johansen signing

Stefan Johansen arrives in Glasgow last night for talks with Celtic. Picture: SNS

Stefan Johansen arrives in Glasgow last night for talks with Celtic. Picture: SNS

  • by MARK WALKER AND ANGUS WRIGHT
 

CELTIC are looking to tie up the signing of Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen.

The 23-year-old arrived in Glasgow on Monday night and is expected to undergo a medical on Tuesday.

Johansen was part of the Stromsgodset side which won the Norwegian league last year but he views a move to Parkhead as a major step forward in his career.

He told reporters at Glasgow Airport: “Hopefully everything will go to plan and I can become a Celtic player.

“I’m having a medical and I’ll be really happy if everything works out.

“It’s a very big club. Obviously, Champions League, they are leading the Scottish Premiership...so it is a big attraction.”

Celtic getting a gem in Stefan Johansen - Delia

Stefan Johansen fully deserves his move to Celtic according to his manager, with Neil Lennon’s side on the brink of completing a £2 million swoop for the talented midfielder.

Johansen was pulled out of Norway’s winter training camp in Abu Dhabi to finalise terms with Celtic and arrived in Glasgow last night ahead of talks and a medical.

It will be Celtic’s first major transfer move this window and Johansen’s coach at Stromsgodset, Ronny Delia, believes Celtic are making a great signing.

Delia said: “There has been much speculation about Stefan, but it seems that now he will get his move and it is much deserved. He has been given permission to talk to Celtic and I am proud that I have been allowed to work and develop a player such as Stefan.

“He’s the first player we’ve had at Stromsgodset who has been good enough to get to the level of the national team. Stefan has taken football at this club to a new dimension and he has kept improving since he got here. As a player, he has an intensity in his defensive work from midfield, which is great. He is very calm with the ball and has a vision that very few others have.

“Stefan also has been blessed with a natural passing game and was a creative factor in our team. He is also a winner.”

Earlier this season, Johansen was linked with a move to AC Milan and could have ended up playing against his new side in the Champions League. The Italians never made their move, but Johansen said: “He would have been a success in Italy too. I have no doubt about that.”

Antalya Cup a ‘success’, says Lennon

Meanwhile, Lennon believes his team’s winter break in Turkey for the four-team Antalya Cup tournament was a success and thinks it will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season. Celtic arrived back yesterday after losing in the final on penalties to Galatasaray after a goalless draw, having beaten Trabzonspor 3-1 on Friday.

Lennon opted to field a particularly young side for the final, and with nine players from the Celtic Youth Academy involved, the Parkhead manager was delighted with how the youngsters coped against far more experienced opponents..

“I really enjoyed it,” Lennon told the Celtic View. “It has been tough for everyone, and the phone was still going as it’s the January transfer window, but it was good to switch off a little bit and get away from what has been a very hectic schedule. The weather isn’t great back home and it’s always nice to get a bit of sun and a change of scenery. We had a really heavy schedule over the festive season and the boys didn’t have much of a Christmas.

“We weren’t out partying but they were relaxing and bonding – which is important as well. The facilities there were second to none – there was a gym and a spa for the players so, while there was a bit of work, there was also relaxation, which is exactly what we wanted.

“We all had a good time, and the lads got plenty of work in and plenty of recovery as well, and the weather was conducive to what we wanted to do. We got everything out of the trip that we wanted.

“The majority of the young boys know the first-team and they have trained with us for quite a while so it’s a good experience for them, and it certainly was against Galatasaray on Sunday.

“It was a hell of an experience playing in front of that crowd and against that opposition.

“We wanted them to thrive on that, and regardless of the result, we wanted to see their character come through and their quality of performance as well.

“We won’t know the benefits of it until we get back but, if we go by how we approached last season in Marbella and the way we went into the second half of the season, then I am hoping for similar sorts of performances as we were very good after we came back from the break there.”

 

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