In today’s Rumour Mill: Barbosa interests Celtic as Kayal plays Norwich waiting game; Mat Ryan injury puts paid to Ibrox trial; Craig Brown warns English clubs off Pittodrie talent plus the rest of the day’s Scottish football news and gossip.
Helder Barbosa tops wanted list as Lennon seeks to fine-tune Celtic squad
Celtic have renewed their interest in Portuguese winger Helder Barbosa, who first appeared on the club’s radar in 2010, ahead of the Parkhead side’s Champions League qualifier with Braga. The 25-year-old was the subject of interest from Celtic in the last transfer window, and could be the answer to Neil Lennon’s wish for a left-sided attacker.
Barbosa’s agent, Angelo Martins, confirmed the interest from the SPL champions, describing it as ‘stronger than before.’ The former Porto winger is into the last six months of his contract with the Portuguese side, and a move could be more of a possibility as Barbosa has found first-team opportunities hard to come by this term, making just eight starts, with six substitute appearances. It is thought Celtic may attempt to bring the midfielder in on a loan deal, but Braga may accept a cut-price fee.
Celtic are also rumoured to be tracking Nigerian pair Juwon Oshinawa, of Israeli side FC Ashdod and Uwa Echiejile, a team mate of Barbosa’s at Braga valued at around £2.5 million. Chief scout John Park has been tasked with sourcing left-sided players, and both Oshinawa and Echiejile could fit the bill.
Kayal waits for Norwich decision
Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal is reportedly waiting for Norwich City to make a decision on whether they want to bring the Israeli international to Carrow Road. Chris Hughton was rumoured to be watching the £5 million-rated midfielder as Celtic took on Motherwell last week, but there has been no word of formal talks between the two clubs.
Rangers dealt blow as Mat Ryan injury scuppers Ibrox trial
Australian side Central Coast Mariners have said that goalkeeper Mat Ryan will no longer travel to Glasgow to take part in a highly-criticised trial period with Rangers. The 20-year-old had been scheduled to travel to Scotland, missing out on his club’s vital clash with third-placed Melbourne Victory, for a ten days.
The club released a statement explaining the decision, saying: “While [Mat’s] injury is minor, both clubs have agreed that it is in Ryan’s best interests to remain in Australia under the care of the Mariners@ medical department for the foreseeable future.”
Former Manchester United and Australia goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was one of those who criticised the proposed trip, commenting: “He’s going for a 10-day trial for the right to play against the likes of Elgin City, Montrose, Clyde and Stirling, and he’s going to miss a top of the table clash with Melbourne Victory.
“This is one of Australia’s best young talents and he’s going to go down to the fourth tier of Scottish football. The Scottish Premier League isn’t as good as the A-League.”
Ryan McGowan completes China move
Ryan McGowan has completed his move from Hearts to Chinese side Shandong Luneng, and has signed a
lucrative two-year deal.
The deal is set to earn Hearts around £400,000, including add-ons, for a player whose contract at Tynecastle was due to expire in the summer.
Reports that McGowan would only be signing a ten-month deal with the Chinese Super League outfit have proved to be wide of the mark, with Shandong manager Radomir Antic confirming that two-year deal.
Craig Brown issues hands-off warning to English clubs
Aberdeen manager Craig Brown is bracing himself for a busy January fighting off interest in his young talents from south of the Border. Championship side Huddersfield Town have again been linked with want-away winger Ryan Fraser, who has rejected a new three-year deal at Pittodrie. Various media outlets were reporting that Huddersfield had hoped to convince Aberdeen to let the 18-year-oldFraser go now for a fee, than receive £250,000 training compensation should Fraser move in the summer.
Wolves appoint new manager as Hibees hold breath over Griffiths complications
Dean Saunders has been unveiled as the new manager of Wolves, following Stale Solbakken’s sacking after the club’s shock 1-0 loss to non-league Luton Town, in a move that may further complicate Hibernian’s attempts to retain the services of Leigh Griffiths. The striker has netted 14 goals for Hibs this season, and Pat Fenlon is understandably keen to hang on to the boyhood Hibs fan. But the Easter Road side may, along with facing competition from other clubs, lose out on Griffiths if Saunders decides that he wants the former Dundee and Livingston forward in his plans.