Celtic boss Neil Lennon places priority on securing Ryan Christie deal
Christie is going into the penultimate season of his current deal with Celtic, the same timescale as Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer and French striker Odsonne Edouard who have both been linked with summer moves away from the club.
Lennon has previously made it clear he hopes to stave off any interest in Ajer and Edouard by agreeing new contracts with two of his club’s biggest assets.
Now he has confirmed that an improved deal for Scotland international attacking midfielder Christie is also a priority as Celtic assess the strength of their squad following their return to training after the three-month lay-off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“That’s an avenue we will look to pursue,” said Lennon.
“Ryan was terrific for us last year and I’d love to give him an extension to his contract.
“It’s all quiet right now in terms of talks, because there’s been so much going on, but we’ll be picking that up again soon.”
Christie joined Celtic from Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2015 and after two successful loan spells with Aberdeen, he has become an increasingly influential player for the Parkhead club.
The 25-year-old scored 20 goals for Celtic last season, a tally bettered only by Edouard, and also claimed his first strike in a Scotland shirt.
Lennon is in no doubt as to Christie’s value for Celtic as they bid to maintain their dominance of Scottish football.
“He scored 20 goals last year and I’m sure he would have added more if the season went on,” added Lennon. “That’s a fantastic return for a wide man.
“But it wasn’t just his goals. It was his all-round game that was so important for us. It’s like James Forrest and a good few others – they really weighed in, and Ryan was right at the top as well.”
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