Rumour Mill: Sunderland chase Ambrose | Hibs linked with O’Leary | Hearts sale issue

Efe Ambrose celebrates his goal against Dundee United. Picture: SNS
Efe Ambrose celebrates his goal against Dundee United. Picture: SNS
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EFE Ambrose is reportedly a target for former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, Hibs have been linked with Kilmarnock defender Ryan O’Leary on a pre-contract agreement, and Foundation of Hearts are kept in the dark over the sale of Hearts.

Ambrose a target for Sunderland

Former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill is keen on bringing defender Efe Ambrose to the English Premier League - less than six months after the African Cup of Nations winner signed on at Parkhead. Nigerian Ambrose joined Celtic from Israeli side Ashdod for £1.5 million, signing a three-year deal.

However, O’Neill is eager to shore up his defence by bringing Ambrose south of the Border, but could face competition from Swansea and Liverpool.

Ambrose was widely criticised for his performance against Juventus, being blamed for two of the Italian side’s three goals, but scored Celtic’s first in their 6-2 thrashing of Dundee United at the weekend.

Hibs linked with Ryan O’Leary

Hibernian have been linked with a pre-contract move for Kilmarnock stopper Ryan O’Leary. The Rugby Park defender has made 61 appearances over two spells at the club, scoring once, but has only made 21 appearances since 2011.

The Easter Road side are also reportedly tracking Dundee United duo Willo Flood and Jon Daly, but Flood has indicated a desire to remain at Tannadice whilst there is also interest in Daly from the English leagues.

Fans buyout unlikely as Hearts hold talks with buyers

Following comments from club director Sergejus Fedotovas, a fans buyout of Hearts now appears to be unlikely. Fedotovas insinutated that talks have been ongoing with a number of interested parties.

The Foundation of Hearts, who had an initial offer for the club rejected in November 2012, have not been involved in any recent discussions, giving rise to the suggestion that owner Vladimir Romanov is looking to sell the club off as soon as possible.

Whilst Fedotovas admitted that it was unlikely the club would be sold prior to the season’s end, talks have reportedly been held with unnamed groups in Scandinavia and the US.

Motherwell keen on McCall and McFadden deals

Motherwell are said to be close to agreeing a new contract with manager Stuart McCall, whilst the Fir Park side are also exploring the possibility of former striker James McFadden returning to the club on a short-term deal.

McCall has been in talks with the club over an extension, and took the Steelmen to second in the SPL after a fine 3-0 win over Inverness CT at the weekend. McCall believes it will be tied up by next week.

Meanwhile, a deal for McFadden is on the table, with the free agent having options south of the border. However, Fir Park bosses have been working out a package to tempt the Scotland forward back to the Lanarkshire club.