Birmingham City are set to launch a bid for Scottish Cup final match winner Anthony Stokes in a move that provides Brendan Rodgers with his first major personnel decision as Celtic manager.
The Northern Irishman was open at his unveiling last week about the pressing need to cut an oversized squad that features in excess of 30 players. It is believed that he is seeking to shed up to 12 of these and the opportunity to offload Stokes could provide a starting point.
After ending his loan spell at Hibernian with a double to deliver the Scottish Cup to the club after 114 years last Saturday, Stokes declared Rodgers “a great appointment”. The 27-year-old stated that he hoped Rodgers had watched his exploits in the 3-2 triumph over Rangers and that he could to go back to Celtic and have the chance of a fresh start after proving a magnet for controversy since joining from Easter Road in £1.2 million deal six years ago.
In late 2013, he signed a three-year extension, with Celtic having a one-year option.
They could choose to exercise this simply to command a fee for the Republic of Ireland forward wanted by Birmingham manager Gary Rowett as he prioritises a striker to spearhead the club’s challenge to return to the Premier League five years after they dropped out of it.
Stokes scored nine goals in 25 games while on loan at Hibs.