Celtic target 19-year-old Egyptian playmaker nicknamed Trezeguet; Georgios Samaras says he wants to stay at Celtic; Neil Lennon sure that Fraser Forster will stay for now, plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Celtic target Egyptian Mahmoud Hassan
Celtic have joined the chase for highly-rated Egyptian midfielder Mahmoud Hassan. The 19-year-old, who plays for Egyptian champions Al Ahly, is nicknamed Trezeguet in his homeland. Hassan has been capped 11 times by the Under-21s, and is a target for numerous clubs across Europe, including Nottingham Forest, French side Nice and Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart.
It is thought that Hassan would prefer a move to England, and the Al Ahly themselves have indicated a willingness to sell any player for £1 million. The club’s director of football Sayed Abdel-Hafiz said: “It’s a huge number. But we haven’t received an offer, so all this talk is irrelevant.”
Lennon has already expressed an interest in recruiting “a bit of flair” for the side. (Daily Mail)
Georgios Samaras: No decision on Celtic future
GEORGIOS Samaras has broken his silence on his Celtic contract stalemate and hinted he that wants to stay with the Scottish champions.
The 28-year-old has admitted he owes his career to the Parkhead side, and said: “Celtic have been my team for the past seven seasons. They have helped me change my mentality as a footballer. They have won titles and made me feel like a winner.
“To make a step up to another team or a more competitive league, I can’t just turn up and say ‘hello, here I am,’ there would have to be interest. And for that to happen, I have to perform well with Celtic for any team to be actually interested in me. (Scotsman)
Lennon sure Fraser Forster will stay at Celtic
NEIL Lennon has expressed his confidence Fraser Forster will remain a Celtic player for the rest of the season and insists it will not damage his prospects of being in England’s World Cup finals squad.
Speculation has intensified that the Celtic goalkeeper will seek a move during the forthcoming January transfer window in a bid to nail down a place in England manager Roy Hodgson’s plans for next summer’s tournament in Brazil.
“Looking at how the situation is, we have no offers for Fraser and there is no apparent interest in him,” said Lennon.
“Hopefully, he will be on that plane to Brazil. I’m pretty confident he will be and that would be fantastic for Fraser. I don’t think being at Celtic has hindered him – far from it. It’s been the exact opposite. It has done wonders for his career.” (Scotsman)
Samaras & Ledley the best deals for Celtic - Brown
CELTIC captain Scott Brown believes agreeing new contracts with Georgios Samaras and Joe Ledley would represent better January business for the Scottish champions than any new signings they make during the transfer window.
Samaras and Ledley are both out of contract at the end of this season, and Celtic manager Neil Lennon has confirmed they could be sold next month if the current impasse in negotiations over fresh deals is not resolved soon.
But Brown feels Greek striker Samaras and Welsh midfielder Ledley would both prefer to extend their time at Celtic and he remains hopeful they will stay. “It would be great for the club to keep these two lads,” said Brown. “I think Sami wants to be here and so does Joe.” (Scotsman)
Jon Daly’s Ibrox regret fuels appetite for goals
Rangers striker Jon Daly has revealed his regret that he never scored in front of his father at Ibrox. Daly, who signed from Dundee United in the summer, has been in prolific form for Rangers, scoring 18 goals in 19 games. But when his father crossed the Irish Sea to watch Daly take part in a game against Brechin in August, Daly failed to find the target - a fact that Daly says has fired his appetite for goals.
“My dad was over to watch that game against Brechin and never got to see me score at Ibrox. It would have been great for him to see that.
“At the time of my move to Ibrox, I spoke to my dad and he was delighted that a club like Rangers were in for me. He told me to jump at the chance. I think I’d pretty much made my mind up that I was coming anyway, but it was nice that he was full of enthusiasm for the move.
“He did give me stick for not scoring in that first game! That’s the way he was, he used to have that kind of banter with me. But he was very proud and hopefully I can still do him proud in the future.” (Scotsman)
Terry Butcher says belief will lead Hibs to goals
HAVE confidence, and the goals will come. That is the message from Terry Butcher as he takes his Hibernian squad to Dingwall, the scene of his only victory since becoming manager at Easter Road.
Hibs have scored only twice in Butcher’s five games in charge – once in the home draw with Partick Thistle and once in their Scottish Cup tie at Ross County. Given they have also only conceded two goals, it seems clear where they are going right and where they need to make drastic improvements.
“To win the game we have got to score, which has been a problem for us,” he accepted. “But if we keep on doing what we did in terms of getting crosses in the box and forcing the other team to defend, then sooner or later we are going to score.” (Scotsman)