Rumour Mill: Sunderland eye Nir Bitton | Feddal to Celtic? | Rangers

Sunderland said to be preparing £5m summer swoop for Nir Bitton as Parma defender Zouhair Feddal remains on Hoops radar; Rangers are one of the ‘most financially strongest clubs in the world’ according to Dave King and McCoist is asked to end contract

Nir Bitton is reportedly a target for Sunderland. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Nir Bitton is reportedly a target for Sunderland. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Sunderland set for £5m Bitton swoop

SUNDERLAND are reportedly lining up a £5m move for Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton.

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The Israeli midfielder took time to settle at Parkhead but has established himself as a key player in Ronny Deila’s title-winning squad and has been widely praised for his performances in the middle of the park.

And the Black Cats, who ensured Premier League safety earlier this week with a hard-fought draw with Arsenal are seeking to strengthen their squad. A club insider said: “Nir Bitton’s outstanding display against Inter Milan really brought him to our attention and we have been impressed with his consistently strong performances in the Scottish Premiership.”

Bitton signed for Celtic for £700,000 from Israeli Premier League outfit Ashdod. (Express)

Feddal ‘will become free agent’ if Parma can’t find buyer

CELTIC have been handed a small boost in their search for new defenders.

Parma stopper Zouhair Feddal could become a free agent if the troubled Serie A side fail to find a buyer for the Moroccan.

The 26-year-old has had spells with FUS de Rabat, San Roque de Lepe, Siena and Palermo and could find himself without a club come the summer.

Celtic are still keeping tabs on Evian defender Jonathan Mensah and Dutch stopper Mitchell Dijks, but Mensah’s four-month ban over a contract dispute and Dijks attracting attention from top clubs in the Netherlands could force Celtic to look elsewhere. (Various)

Ajax look to scupper Celtic’s move for Dijks

ONE club monitoring the Dijks situation is Ajax.

The Amsterdam club could look to pinch the Willem II defender for around half of his £1 million price tag. (The Sun)

Rangers ‘one of financially strongest clubs in world’ - King

DAVE King has made the remarkable claim that Rangers are one of the financially strongest clubs in the world as he prepares to become chairman of the Ibrox club today.

The South Africa-based entrepreneur will formally take up the role at the first meeting of the club’s board following his approval from the SFA earlier this week as “fit and proper” to serve as a director.

King says that he will make a “substantial” personal investment in Rangers imminently, although did not provide a specific figure.

“If you look at Rangers, even in terms of the financials, Rangers is in an incredibly strong financial position,” said King. “It has got shareholders who can fund it, it has got virtually no debt. How many clubs in the world don’t have debt? Our balance sheet is incredibly strong for any football club in the world.” (The Scotsman)

Rangers ask McCoist to end contract

McCoist has been on gardening leave since 21 December, a week after he tendered his resignation as manager. The 52-year-old continues to earn £62,500 a month from Rangers as part of his 12-month rolling contract which will not expire until December this year.

It has become a source of disquiet among some Rangers supporters during a period when the club have continued to operate in fragile financial circumstances.

“Ally is perfectly within his rights and there is no conflict between Ally and the board,” said King.

“Ally is an absolute icon and legend at Rangers and I would be very surprised and disappointed if any of the discussions we had with him resulted in any change to that status, or if he felt in any way unwelcome, because we will make him feel extremely welcome when he comes back to the club.” (The Scotsman)

Vuckic ‘honoured’ to be linked with Olympiacos

RANGERS talisman Haris Vuckic, on loan from Newcastle, says he is ‘flattered’ to be linked with a move to Greek side Olympiacos.

Olympiacos boss Vitor Pereira watched the Slovenian in action against Queen of the South, and had his chief scout run the rule over him during the 2-0 win over Hibernian.

And Vuckic, who appears to have no future at Newcastle, said: “If Olympiacos are interested in me, I feel flattered. Olympiacos are a great team. I want to keep working hard and I want to play for a big, ambitious club.

“My agent has told me there’s interest from a number of clubs. However, I’m only concentrating on Rangers.. Also, if clubs want to buy me they would have to discuss the matter with Newcastle because I remain under contract with them.” (Express)

Wee Hoops thrash Rangers in Youth Cup final

Sam Wardrop and Luke Donnelly grabbed the others while Dylan Dykes and a Calum Waters own goal reduced the deficit for the wee Gers. (The Scotsman)

Hearts eye Gavin Reilly move

HEARTS are weighing up a move for Queen of the South forward Gavin Reilly.

The Jambos, preparing for life back in the Scottish Premiership, have released striker James Keatings and loan hitman Genero Zeefuik has returned to Groningen but are seeking to strengthen their squad for next season. (Daily Record)

Scottish FA rescinds 2 reds, throws out third case

THE Scottish FA yesterday overturned two red cards and dismissed a case for banning a Kilmarnock player on a busy day for disciplinary hearings at Hampden.

Red cards for Motherwell striker Scott McDonald and Filip Kiss of Ross County were rescinded while the case against Josh Magennis for headbutting team-mate Jamie Hamill was thrown out.

Steven Lawless, the Partick Thistle player hammered for betting on over 500 matches, was given a six match ban, with two games suspended. (Various)


• Partick Thistle have released James Craigen, Christopher Dillon, Ryan Finnie, Dale Keenan and Ben Richards-Everton

• Ross County are close to a agreeing a deal for Ian McShane of Queen of the South

• Hearts will take on Cowdenbeath in a friendly at Central Park on July 15

• Albion Rovers have released seven players following promotion to League 1. Liam Cusack, Martin McGuire, Jamie Pollock, Gary Phillips, Marc McKenzie, Scott Stevenson and Kieran Hughes are all exiting Cliftonhill

• Dundee United boss Stephen Thompson says his priority is the Tannadice club despite reports linking him with a £2.5m bid for Australian side Newcastle Jets