Stefan Scepovic close to securing Celtic switch

STEFAN Scepovic could be a Celtic player within the next few days after it emerged Sporting Gijon are prepared to let the Serbian hitman leave Spain.

Stefan Scepovic signed a deal with Celtic despite fears the Serb was joining Getafe. Picture: AP

Scepovic, 24, was left out of Sporting’s squad to face Numancia in the Segunda Liga clash on Saturday night, and head coach Abelardo Fernandez all but confirmed the striker’s departure, adding: “His exit is imminent. He has been left out to avoid injury that could influence negotiations.”

The 6ft 1in striker has netted 23 goals in 39 games for Sporting, but could join Celtic for a fee in the region of £3.2 million, if they can see off competition from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.

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It is understood Celtic are willing to part with the money in the hope that they can defeat Maribor at Celtic Park this week, and secure a lucrative passage into the Champions League group stages.

An earlier bid of £2 million was flatly rejected by the Spaniards, who only signed Scepovic on a permanent deal in February of this year - the striker had arrived on an initial three-year loan deal in July 2013.

Starting out with OFK Beograd in his homeland, Scepovic spent time on loan with Mladi Radnik and Sopot in Serbia, before joining Sampdoria in Italy.

A 12-game spell in Belgium with Club Brugge and Kortrijk was overshadowed by an incident in which he managed to lock himself in a bathroom just hours before a friendly match.

His transfer to Hapoel Acre in 2011 led to a more fruitful spell in front of goal, with the Serbian grabbing 12 goals in 31 appearances before joining Partizan, where he struck seven in 14.

A brief return to Israel with Ashdod brought six goals in 13 matches before Scepovic joined Sporting Gijon.

Becoming the first player in the club’s history to score in his first five consecutive matches, Scepovic picked up the Segunda Division player of the month prize, as well as a host of other awards from readers of Spanish sports newspaper Marca and the Liga de Futbol Profesional.

Scepovic’s agent Juanma Lopez flew into Scotland this weekend in a bid to negotiate a deal with Celtic and pending a work permit, the striker could finalise his move to the Scottish Premiership tomorrow.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila also confirmed that he was confident of finalising a loan move for Rubin Kazan winger Wakaso Mubarak.