Liverpool reportedly preparing bid for Dembele; Cathro plays down Ryan Gauld loan talk and Celtic on alert with James McCarthy set to quit Everton in January
Celtic braced for Dembele bids
CELTIC are bracing themselves for an influx of bids for star striker Moussa Dembele when the transfer window opens in January.
The French striker has been in sparkling form for Brendan Rodgers’ side since signing from Fulham, and has attracted interest from Europe’s top clubs.
But Liverpool could test Celtic’s resolve with a £20m bid for Dembele as they seek a replacement for Daniel Sturridge, while Arsenal could also put in a similar bid for the France Under-21 forward. (Various)
Cathro plays down Gauld talk
NEW Hearts boss Ian Cathro has played down suggestions he could bring in Ryan Gauld on loan next month.
Cathro, who brought Gauld through at Dundee United, didn’t completely rule out a move for the Sporting Lisbon winger, but said: “If everything is right for everyone you’d look into it. But I don’t think those things align right now.”
Gauld has made just two appearances for Vitoria Setubal on loan, and has been playing in an unfamiliar deep-lying central midfield role. But Cathro believes the 20-year-old is keen to knuckle down and make a name for himself.
Gauld still has three years left on his deal with Sporting, as well as an eye-watering £50 million buyout clause, so further loan deals are a distinct possibility. (The Scotsman)
Celtic on alert with McCarthy set for Everton exit
JAMES McCarthy has been tipped to leave Everton next month, alerting a number of clubs including Celtic to his potential availability.
Celtic were linked with the Irish midfielder in the summer but he decided to stay at Goodison. But with McCarthy in and out of the Toffees first team under Ronald Koeman, he could seek an exit in January.
However, McCarthy’s wages and likely fee - along with reported interest from Crystal Palace, Tottenham, Aston Villa and West Ham - could price the Hoops out of a move. (Daily Record)
Martin backed to be Scotland’s hero
FORMER Rangers and Aberdeen winger Sone Aluko has tipped Chris Martin to fire Scotland to the World Cup in Russia.
Aluko, who currently plays alongside the Suffolk-born striker at Fulham, reckons Martin - who scored in Scotland’s 5-1 win over Malta but was dropped for the games against Slovakia and England - has what it takes to be Gordon Strachan’s main striker.
Aluko said: “If he can get a run of games, then I’m sure he will score goals. He is definitely capable of scoring goals at international level and hopefully it works out for him.” (Scottish Sun, print edition)
Lustig closes in on new Celtic deal
CELTIC are hopeful Mikael Lustig will sign a new deal, with Brendan Rodgers keen to hold onto the defender.
The Swedish international’s contract is up in June 2017 and discussions are under way between the Parkhead side and Lustig’s people as the Hoops attempt to keep the 29-year-old in Glasgow.
Since joining from Rosenborg in 2011, Lustig has won four league titles, two League Cups and one Scottish Cup. (Daily Record)
Van der Vaart’s bizarre boots contract clause
JUST when we thought the contract clause stipulating that Mario Balotelli would receive a bonus to the tune of £1m if he avoided three red cards for violent conduct over a full season was bizarre, Rafael van der Vaart’s Real Betis contract has been leaked, putting Balotelli’s Liverpool deal to shame.
Because the Dutch midfielder, who made fewer than 10 appearances for the Spanish side, received more than £1.3m simply for not wearing red boots - the colours of rivals Sevilla. (Various)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Former Celtic striker John Hartson believes Nadir Ciftci has been a waste of money, and that the Parkhead side should ditch the Turkish forward along with Efe Ambrose, Scott Allan, Dedryck Boyata and Kris Commons
• Sunderland and Nottingham Forest have been credited with an interest in St Mirren’s teenage winger Kyle McAllister
• Ex-Hibs and Dunfermline defender Sol Bamba made headlines yesterday after reacting badly to a red card. The Ivorian stopper shoved the Cardiff physio, had a go at the fourth official and lashed out at manager Neil Warnock