In today’s Rumour Mill: Norwich had private plane ready to fly Gary Hooper away from Celtic; Rangers await EBT investigation; Ally McCoist joines SFL league reconstruction talks; Anthony Stokes ‘like new signing’; plus all the rest of today’s football transfer news and gossip
Gary Hooper stays at Celtic as Norwich prepared private plane
Gary Hooper will stay at Celtic despite being the subject of four bids from Norwich, including one on transfer deadline day. The Premier League outfit were so determined to buy Hooper that they had even prepared a private jet to fly from Glasgow Airport in the event that a deal could be struck. However, the Parkhead hierarchy had long since concluded he was not for sale, despite a final bid that was rumuored to have been between £8-9 million. (The Sun)
Rangers away SPL’s EBT probe as hearings are concluded
An independent probe set up by the SPL to investigate whether Rangers’ use of EBTs amounted to wrongdoing ended yesterday as legal representatives from Rangers and Scotland’s top tier submitted evidence to a three-man panel.
The outcome of the investigation is likely to take “weeks” rather than days, an insider said.
Should Rangers be found guilty by the three-man panel, chaired by Lord Nimmo Smith, the club faces being stripped of all titles won from 2001-2011, the period under which the alleged EBT breaches were thought to have been made under Sir David Murray’s ownership. (Daily Mail)
Ally McCoist joins talks on league reconstruction
Ally McCoist met with SFL authorities to voice his opposition to league reconstruction plans as football chiefs hosted a five-hour meeting inviting the Rangers manager to discuss the proposals alongside 29 other SFL member clubs.
McCoist, who opposes the immediate implemenetation of any format that would effectively render their current campaign meaningless, agreed along with 28 other members to move the debate forward so that SFL chiefs can decide between the 12-12-18 structure and the 12-12-10-10 currently mooted. (Daily Express)
Aberdeen sign Sheffield Wednesday’s Mark Reynolds
Mark Reynolds has turned his loan spell at Aberdeen into a permanent deal as the defender cut his ties with Sheffield Wednesday. The 25-year-old had been in the middle of a year-long loan spell - his second at Aberdeen after signing in January last year - but manager Craig Brown has recruited the defender permanently. Brown also managed to recruit 21-year-old goalkeeper Dan Twardzik on an 18-month contract from Italian Serie C outfit Calcio Como. (Daily Express)
Anthony Stokes return is ‘like having new signing’
As Celtic’s last-minute push to sign Wolves striker Kevin Doyle failed last night, Parkhead midfielder said Anthony Stokes’ return to the first team was “like having a new signing”.
“Stokesy has been working hard in the gym trying to get fit and it has been difficult with his ankle.
“It’s nice to see him back and scoring goals because that is what he has done ever since he joined Celtic.
“You can see him improving with every training session. It is going to take a while for him to get full fitness back, but he’s like a new signing at this time of the year.” (The Sun)
Swiss side confirm interest in Marius Zaliukas
Young Boys Berne have declared an interest in signing Marius Zaliukas. The Swiss outfit sent their head scout Stephane Chapuisat to observe Zaliukas as Hearts won 1-0 against Dundee. The Lithuanian has been singled out by the club as a “centre-back of genuine quality.”
“We are very interested in Zaliukas,” said Chapuisat. “It was important to see him live in the flesh, especially on a night when the weather conditions were so difficult.
“Despite the rain, the wind and tghe head injury, he played very well. He’s a physically impressive, aggressive defender who has a good pedigree.” (The Sun)
• Ross County have signed Branislav Micic from FC Sion. The defender was initially spent a few weeks on trial at County but has now been given a permanent deal. (The Sun)
• Gus MacPherson aned Billy Dodds are understood to be the frontrunners for the Partick Thistle post vacated by new Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara. The Jags board will meet on Monday to discuss the candidates for the job. (Daily Record)
• Hibernian have struck a loan deal for Matt Done until the end of the season. The Barnsley winger was signed as a move for Bolton’s Gregg Wylde collapsed. (The Sun)