Sunderland striker set to snub big-money move to China and join Celtic; Parkhead legend says Hoops should sell Johansen and Rangers No 2 says more loans a possibility
Fletcher eyes Hoops switch
STEVEN Fletcher is set to snub a money-spinning move to China for the chance to join his boyhood heroes Celtic.
The former Hibs and Burnley striker has been on Celtic’s radar for a while, and with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, talk has centred on his future.
Despite two clubs in China offering Fletcher more money than his current £3 million a year wages, Celtic are set to offer an incentive-based contract, with Fletcher keen to return North. (Sunday People)
Cash in on Johansen, Hartson urges Celtic
JOHN Hartson has urged Celtic to cash in on Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen after Aston Villa were linked with a £5 million move.
Ronny Deila has already insisted his countryman is not for sale but Hartson, who spent five years at Celtic, has urged the Hoops to bite Villa’s hand off.
Hartson said in a newspaper column: “If [Remi Garde] is still willing to pay £5 million for Johansen then I’d suggest Peter Lawwell would bite off his hand.
“I think Johansen is a decent player on his day. But the fact is it’s not been his day all season and there aren’t any signs that’s about to change any time soon.” (Scottish Sun)
Weir hints at further loans
RANGERS assistant David Weir has suggested that the Ibrox club could return to the loan market to supplement their squad, after seeing relative success with the likes of Gedion Zelalem and Dominic Ball.
Weir believes the size of the Ibrox crowds combined with the environment at Auchenhowie is the perfect climate for fledgling players to hone their skills.
He told the Mirror: “I think Rangers has got great things to give to these loan players... Hopefully what we are creating here replicates what they want to do with their careers at their parent clubs.” (The Mirror)
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Gers could return for Stanley pair
RANGERS could reopen negotiations with Accrington Stanley in a bid to land Matt Crooks and Josh Windass during this window, after primary midfield target Toumani Diagouraga chose Leeds over Rangers.
The Accrington duo have signed pre-contract agreements with the Ibrox side but Mark Warburton could seek to bring them in early after losing out on the French midfielder. (Daily Mail)
Deila admits: “We can’t compete with Championship”
RONNY Deila has admitted that Celtic ‘are a big club’ but that the Hoops aren’t rich enough to compete with the English Championship.
The Norwegian, who brought in defender Erik Sviatchenko hinted that if the Dane had been playing for Middlesbrough rather than Midtjylland, then Celtic wouldn’t have got near him.
Deila said: ”We can’t get players from the Championship. That’s the truth. If you go to England it’s three times your salary and a higher level.
“So it’s fair to say that coming here is a middle step for players.” (Daily Record)
Why aren’t other sides after O’Halloran, asks striker
ST JOHNSTONE striker Steven MacLean is baffled by the lack of interest in Michael O’Halloran, with Rangers the main suitors for the Glasgow-born forward.
MacLean, who watched O’Halloran star despite Celtic’s 3-1 win over the Saints at Parkhead, said: “If you look at Celtic’s squad they have a lot of midfielders and that’s even with guys like Tom Rogic and Kris Commons out.
“But they’ve not got anyone other than James Forrest who has Michael’s blistering pace.” (Daily Record)
Stubbs ‘unsurprised’ by Stokes debut goal
ALAN Stubbs has said he ‘wasn’t surprised’ that Anthony Stokes grabbed a goal on his second Hibs debut, adding: “It was the headline that probably everyone was wanting, and it happened.”
Stokes came on as a 70th-minute substitute, and netted Hibs’ third in a relatively straightforward 3-1 win over St Mirren.
Fellow Celtic loanee Liam Henderson, and former Buddie John McGinn were also on the scoresheet while Stephen Mallan grabbed St Mirren’s goal. (Scotland on Sunday)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is eager for Callum Paterson to develop at Hearts before seeking a move to England
• St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright has claimed Hibs are the favourites for the League Cup semi-final between the two clubs
• Barnsley have joined the chase for Partick Thistle midfielder Stuart Bannigan
• Mixu Paatelainen has insisted that Dundee United ‘aren’t dead yet’ after their shock 5-1 win over Kilmarnock