Dundee United’s Nadir Ciftci set to sign at Celtic

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CELTIC are expected to complete the signings of striker Nadir Ciftci and goalkeeper Logan Bailly today as they continue to bolster their squad ahead of the Champions League qualifying campaign.

The Scottish champions also continue to be strongly linked with a loan move for Real Madrid teenager Martin Ødegaard, a protégé of manager Ronny Deila.

Dundee United’s resistance to the sale of another of their key players to the Scottish champions was finally breached when the Tannadice club accepted a bid of £1.5 million for Ciftci.

Two previous offers from Celtic had been rejected by United whose valuation of the 23 year old had been met by Wigan Athletic last week.

But Ciftci was unwilling to make the move to the English League One club, instead holding out for the chance to join Celtic and the prospect of Champions League football.

The Turkish forward, who had one season remaining on his contract at United, is now poised to follow Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong in making the switch to Celtic.

Nadir Ciftci looks likely to be heading to Celtic Park. Picture: SNS

Nadir Ciftci looks likely to be heading to Celtic Park. Picture: SNS

The sales of Mackay-Steven and Armstrong on the final day of the winter transfer window, for a combined fee of around £2 million, caused uproar among United supporters. But with Ciftci rejecting the chance to sign a new extended contract at the club recently, United have been unable to turn down a significant profit on a player they signed under freedom of contract from NAC Breda two years ago.

A statement on United’s website issued early yesterday morning read: “Dundee United today confirmed that an undisclosed fee had been agreed with Celtic for Nadir Ciftci and permission has been granted for the Glasgow club to speak to the player.”

Ciftci travelled to Glasgow for negotiations over personal terms and will undergo a medical ahead of his anticipated signing.

Celtic should also conclude the capture of 29-year-old Belgian international goalkeeper Bailly from OH Leuven today. A fee of around £300,000 has been agreed for the player who will provide back-up for current number one Craig Gordon. Bailly arrived in Glasgow yesterday afternoon to undergo his medical.

The signing of Ciftci comes with an element of risk attached in terms of how often he will be available to Celtic in the opening weeks of the season.

The temperamental former Portsmouth player, who was booked 30 times and sent off once during his two seasons with United, is awaiting an SFA disciplinary hearing on 20 July into an allegation he bit Dundee midfielder Jim McAlister on the leg during the derby fixture on the final day of last season.

If found guilty, Ciftci could face a lengthy domestic suspension. But Celtic manager Ronny Deila will be seeking longer-term development and dividends from a talent which saw Ciftci score 33 goals in 82 appearances for United, including twice against his new club last season.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Norwegian midfielder Ødegaard, who played under Deila at Stromsgodset in his homeland, remains at the centre of speculation over a reunion with the Celtic head coach.

Ødegaard joined Real Madrid in January and became the Spanish giants’ youngest-ever first-team player when he made his La Liga debut as a substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo in their last game of the season against Getafe.

But new Real head coach Rafa Benitez wants to loan Ødegaard out for first-team experience elsewhere this season and Celtic are among the contenders for his temporary signature. Some reports in the European media last night claimed Celtic are poised to win the race to secure Ødegaard for the new campaign.