Celtic need £2m to land Liam Lawrence

NEIL Lennon's position as Celtic manager is yet to be confirmed, but the Parkhead club are nevertheless staying active in the transfer market and yesterday lodged an offer of £1.5 million for Stoke City and Ireland winger Liam Lawrence.

• Liam Lawrence: Irish cap. Picture: Getty

As preparations begin for the new season, and a new era under Lennon, Celtic also confirmed that Lee Naylor has left the club after his contract expired.

Stoke last night refused to comment on Celtic's bid for 28-year-old Lawrence. The English Premier League club, however, are seeking at least 2million for the player they signed from Sunderland for 500,000 in January 2007. The Republic of Ireland international, who began his career at Mansfield Town, has also been linked with a move to Wolves.

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Meanwhile Naylor, who joined Celtic from Wolves for 600,000 four years ago, is expected to return to English football.

Naylor enjoyed a successful first season at Celtic under Gordon Strachan, helping them win the SPL title in 2007 and performing well enough personally to earn a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year award.

But, although Naylor won another championship medal the following season, his stock among Celtic supporters steadily decreased in tandem with his form. The 30-year-old did enjoy a late flourish to his Celtic career under interim manager Lennon at the end of this season, earning a first-team recall and scoring in the 2-1 defeat of champions Rangers at Parkhead. Naylor made 142 appearances for Celtic, scoring three goals.

His departure, following on from Dutch international Edson Braafheid's return to Bayern Munich following an unsuccessful loan period, leaves the recruitment of a new left-back among the priorities for Lennon if, as widely anticipated, he is appointed manager on a permanent basis.

It was Lennon, again alongside chief executive Peter Lawwell, who confirmed Naylor's exit at the second of a series of supporters' roadshows in Irvine on Tuesday night.